BAMMA Lightweight champion Martin Stapleton vows to make history as Britain’s first three-weight world champion, ahead of his 145lb title fight at BAMMA 27.
Tom Duquesnoy – who defends his Bantamweight title against Alan Philpott at BAMMA 27 – has now officially vacated his 145 pound title.
Already the holder of the 155lb strap, Stapleton challenges Ronnie Mann for the vacant Featherweight belt on December 16 in Dublin, Ireland.
But the SBG Manchester fighter doesn’t want to stop there, even with a second championship belt on the horizon. Looking to do whatever he can to make it to the ‘big show’, “Stapes” believes becoming mainstream MMA’s first simultaneous three-weight champion could seriously boost his stock.
“They’ll have to pry that away from my cold, dead fingers,” joked Stapleton about possibly vacating the Lightweight title. “I’m going to take the Featherweight belt and the 155 belt and who knows, next I might try and go up to Welterweight. We’ll see what it takes to get the big show recognising me. I’m up for a fight in any weight division.
“Physically I know I can do it, I’ll do anything it takes to get to the big show. I want to get to the UFC and I want to be UFC world champion, which I know I will be once I get signed. I’ll climb up that top 10 ladder until I hold that belt. I want big fights, I want to do stuff that no one else is doing, fights no one else will take, that’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”
In May, Stapleton defended his Lightweight title against Damien Lapilus, but it wasn’t the finish that “.50 Cal” would have hoped for. The Frenchman landed an illegal knee in the second round, which forced referee Daniel Movahedi to disqualify Lapilus.
Initially disappointed with the outcome, the champion called for a rematch, but Stapleton has since clarified that a redux with Lapilus has yet to be offered to him.
Now dropping down a weight category, the fighter from Greater Manchester admitted that a lack of competition at 155 was a huge factor behind his move to Featherweight.
He explained: “I’m looking at the Lightweight division in BAMMA and in Europe and I feel that me and Saul Rogers are head and shoulders above anyone else. I feel like I perform best when there’s a big challenge in front of me, so dropping down to Featherweight presents a big challenge in itself, getting the weight down.”
Stapleton’s opponent on December 16, Ronnie Mann earned his BAMMA 27 title shot on the back of a tremendous knockout over Graham Turner in May. It was Mann’s BAMMA debut, but a vast history of experience which includes time in Cage Warriors and Bellator make the “Iron Mann” a formidable foe.
“I think Ronnie Mann is at that time in his career now where he has made improvements now and his last performance was a good performance, knocking out Graham Turner. He’s a jiu-jitsu black belt, he presents a lot of challenges, that said, he ain’t knocking me out, I’ve never been knocked out, I never will be knocked out. I believe I’ll Ronnie Mann out in two rounds.”
With major championship ambitions in the pipeline and the yearning to make it into the UFC, Stapleton was rather reflective of his career thus far. At 33-years-old, he admitted his experiences in Bellator and BAMMA have helped shape him as a fighter.
Having built solidarity under SBG head coach Karl Tanswell and working with his own mind coach, Stapleton now believes he is primed and ready for the UFC call.
“You could put me in with any of the top 10 guys in the UFC tomorrow and I’ll hold my own, I believe I’ll beat most of them as well.
“At the time I was in Bellator, I wasn’t with SBG at that time, I had a lot going on in my life. My training just wasn’t balanced at all, I wasn’t training nowhere near how I should have been training. Since I’ve come back, those fights have made me reevaluate where I am in the sport.
“I’ve come back, made the adjustments I needed to make, I’ve been honest with myself, joined SBG and look what’s happened since then. I’ve been unstoppable and it’s not going to stop now.”