Charlie ‘917’ Leary 17-12-1 is an English professional Mixed Martial Artist currently competing in the Lightweight Division, representing Team Crossface. He has competed for Bamma, Ultimate Challenge MMA, Cage Warriors, Kayo MMA, Shock N Awe, UWC, UCMMA, Phoenix MMA UK, CESE, Budo Fighting Championship, FCC, Brave CF and Bellator MMA.
I appreciate you taking the time to speak to me today Charlie. Congratulations on your recently announced inclusion on the Bellator 280 card.
Fight fans have been eagerly awaiting your return to the cage since last seeing you out there earlier on in the year at Bellator 275. Throughout your career, you have shown your intent to fight some of the best warriors the cage has to offer. Chris Bungard, Tim Wilde and most recently Davy Gallon just to name a few.
Since taking your 1st step on the professional circuit back in 2010, you have racked up 30 pure unadulterated organised MMA bouts. Is there a certain bout that will always stand out to you?
“I think if I have to pick one that stands out most it would be my FCC Title fight against Mick Bowman. It was a great performance and I think it was the fight that started to get me some recognition.”
12 years, for fighters, is a lifetime of hard work and dedication. To still be striving and winning is a great sight to see. What advice would you give to someone starting their professional career looking to mirror your timeline of going to war in the cage?
“You always have to put the hard work in and make the sacrifices, but I think a big thing is to learn from others’ mistakes. don’t rush your career and listen to your body if it needs rest then rest.”
In True ‘917’ fashion, you take on yet another explosive name in the MMA World at Bellator 280 Søren Bak. You step in on just over a week’s notice for an action-packed encounter in Paris. How did you feel when receiving the call, was it a chance you just couldn’t refuse?
“Definitely a chance I couldn’t refuse. I love fighting for Bellator, the chance to fight someone of Sørens calibre is a great opportunity.”
Taking this bout on short notice has left little time to prepare on both sides for the hostilities that are due to occur in the French capital. With both of you being in the fight game for over a decade, you’ve had some time to witness each other in action. What do you make of your opponent for what is set to be a sold-out Accor Arena?
“Taking a fight on short notice is always a gamble but I’ve seen a lot of his fights and watched his career progress. I don’t think he will change anything to fight me, whether it’s 10 weeks or 2 weeks, he will have the same game plan.”
Without giving too much away what steps have you been taking to make sure you walk out with your arm raised and another W on your Bellator record?
“The main thing I’m doing is concentrating on not overthinking anything and letting everything flow on the night.”
Other than your inclusion on the night are there any matchups in particular that you’re looking forward to witnessing?
Last but not least do you have a message for the fans that will be in attendance and anybody you’d like to give a shout-out to?
“To the fans in attendance, I just hope to put on a great, exciting fight. I would also like to thank everyone at Team Crossface for the help and all my sponsors. I couldn’t do it without them all.”