With their recent batch of European signings, Lew ‘The Foot’ Long has become the first Welsh fighter to sign for Bellator MMA.
Fighting out of the MAT Academy Wales, Long (16-5) has become a familiar face on the British MMA scene in recent years – most notably with his headlining victory over veteran Che Mills at Cage Warriors 83 in Newport last year.
Despite losing his following match to Roberto Soldic, Long has since put himself back on track with a second round submission victory over Shaun Lomas at Raged UK in May. Now, the Welterweight from Pontypridd will step up to compete in one of the most competitive divisions in the MMA World.
The change in mood is notable as I step on to the mats to interview Lew today. He seems re-energised at the moment and admittedly feels the move to Bellator has given him a new lease of life. With his outlandish personality and ever-present companion in dog Morty, there’s no doubt Bellator has made a smart move in picking up with this 29-year-old warrior.
So what are Lew’s thoughts on this recent signing, and what can we expect to see from the eccentric Welsh fighter in the coming months? We caught up with Lew at his new training facility in South Wales to find out.
The full interview with Lew ‘The Foot’ Long conducted by Lewis Smith of MMA UK.
Hi Lew, it’s a very exciting time for you being the first Welsh man to sign for Bellator MMA. How does it feel to finally put pen to paper?
LL: It’s Surreal. Obviously, it’s a big thing but at the same time, I’m just training away like nothing’s changed. Until you’re in there fighting or you’ve got the gloves on it doesn’t feel any different. I thought I’d feel like a different person…
It’s definitely a new lease of life for me with some new challenges, and at least I can get some money now.
There’s some really big talent in that Welterweight division, with guys such as Rory MacDonald and MVP, what’s your aim for the next few years stepping into a division like that?
LL: I was asking for a place in the tournament in case there are any last minute pull outs, to have a throw down and show what a crazy Welsh man can do. I don’t really watch anything or know what they fight like – I know MVP is annoying – but I’m just getting into fighting. I’m not a fanboy at all, I just enjoy training. My main goal now over the next few weeks is to pass my Yoga teacher training coach and just enjoy training and kicking ass.
Bellator seems to have put an emphasis on developing British talent at the moment, are there any fights you’re targeting out of the other new signings?
LL: I’ve always wanted to fight (Jim) Wallhead, not because I don’t like him, but because I respect him and think it would be a great fight. We’re from a similar pot, both have a similar build, and it would be a cracking rumble. I think that would be the highest level domestic fight.
And for all the Bellator fans out there that are not so familiar with you, what can they expect to see from Lew Long?
LL: Crazy interviews, Crazy fights, and lots of Morty.