MOST wouldn’t have given it a second thought, but stepping in as a late, late replacement to face Bobby Brents in the main event at CWFC Fight Night 5 in Amman made perfect sense for DJ Linderman.
Brents had been due to fight Chris Barnett in the Jordanian capital on April 12, but injury forced Barnett out of the bout with just five days to spare. Linderman was offered the vacancy and was on a plane to the Middle East the next day.
It seemed like mission impossible for the 28-year-old from Yreka, California. He was still recovering from a bruising battle with Moise Rimbon that went the distance a week earlier and Brents was being groomed as the number one contender for a shot at CWFC heavyweight champion Mike Hayes. A 12-hour flight just a few days before the fight didn’t help either.
“Part of the reason I took the fight was the chance to travel across the world and fight in a different place, but when I heard that it was for the number one contender spot to fight Mike Hayes, that was the main reason,” Linderman explains.
“It was a chance to get another shot at him, shut his mouth and get him out of the way. I’ve never really had an enemy in this game. I’ve had respect for every opponent I’ve had and they’ve had respect for me – except for him. This is my chance to finally shut him up.”
Linderman dominated Brents for three rounds to secure a unanimous decision victory. His reward is a clash with Hayes, the headliner for Cage Warriors 47 in Dublin on Saturday night.
It will be the second time the pair have met. Their tussle in Washington in May 2009 went unanimously in favour of Linderman, so Hayes has a score to settle this weekend. There’s no love lost between the two and the war of words has escalated over the past six weeks
Linderman says: “He feels that I just layed-and-prayed on him in that fight, but anyone who watched it could see that I stood there with him and picked him up and slammed him around.
“He feels that I talked trash afterwards but the only reason I did was because whenever we’d try to set up a rematch, he’d drop out. He never wanted it, he kept running from me.
“I think everything he’s saying right now is a front and he’s actually scared, but he hasn’t got a choice to not take this fight because he’s the champ. I think he knows he’s going to lose but he’s still got to put on that front until the fight comes.”
Linderman is confident of a similar outcome this weekend, although the Bellator veteran fancies a stoppage this time. If that doesn’t come, however, he’s prepared for a five-round duel.
“I think Mike is going to come out and wear himself out. Two or three rounds in I’m going to submit him. He calls himself the heavyweight Eddie Bravo but I’ll show him who it really is.
“I’ve gone five rounds in a title fight before comfortably without any problems. In the fifth round I was still bouncing around so I can definitely pull off five rounds.”
Linderman believes that capturing the CWFC heavyweight title on Saturday could be his ticket back to the top: “The top contenders are obviously in Bellator and the UFC so I want to get back there. Right now I’m kind of being looked at.
“I know Mike is being looked at by the UFC. He’s 18-4, which is a pretty good record so I definitely want to beat him to get back on the radar.”
He added: “Cage Warriors is as good as any promotion I’ve come across. They really take care of you. I hope I can put on a good show for the Irish fans on Saturday night and that they’ll get behind me.”Tags: MMA NEWS, Strikeforce, strikeforce news, ufc news, UFC on FOX, UFC on FOX 2, ufc on fox 3, UFC on Fuel, UFC on FX