UFC fighters hold 10 out of 15 spots in the MMA Fighting Global rankings (16 if you count a tie at 11). Bellator fighters take four places, and ONE Championship takes one.
Do you know what Danny Sabatello would call this list? Fucking bulls.
There’s a much simpler answer to Bellator’s bantamweight, whose mouth has made him stand out since the start of his short stint with the Paramount-owned promotion.
What division am I in? The one,” Sabatello said on Wednesday. Hour of MMA. Bellator. We have the fucking best division in MMA, regardless of the damn promotion. Look at our division, it’s packed full of guys. And then obviously I’m there, I’m the best bantamweight on the planet, so Bellator is the best.
“But I do think that in terms of depth, our top 8 is better than the top 8 of any other promotion, be it UFC, PFL, ONE, whatever the fuck you want. The Bellator bantamweight division is the best, and that’s why I’m so excited about this fucking tournament, because once I win this tournament, I’ll be recognized as the best bantamweight division in the world, regardless of promotion. . There’s a lot of talk about Bellator bantamweight and it should only be because he’s the best in MMA.”
Based on history, the above statement, which in most cases is impossible to prove given the promotional lines and likely a gross exaggeration given their respective talent pools, will get its message (verbally). Sabatello is relatively new to the big scene, a grinder who once scored 30-24 but was not signed to Dana White’s Contender Series and is completely inexperienced in ranked competition. He fought two veterans of the UFC – one knocked him out, and the other was strangled by a decision of the judges. Eight of his 13 opponents have losing records. At this point, most MMA fans will shrug, reject, or ignore him.
Do you know what Danny Sabatello would call these people? Fucking idiots.
Until you prove him wrong, you will have to keep listening. Chael Sonnen is Sabatello’s hero, and Colby Covington is his enemy (he rides with American Top Team colleague Jorge Masvidal). In many ways, he makes them both proud ahead of his Bellator 282 encounter with Leandro Higo. He has the same swagger, Covington police glasses and bleached blonde hair. He says he was just being himself.
The Paramount-owned promotion doesn’t have many natural heels on the mic since Sonnen hung up his gloves, so the company should be grateful. Higo, his opponent at Bellator 282, is already taking the bait, blowing up the trash. If Sabatello can keep putting his money into what he says, then bigger fish will soon step in. Everyone is on his hit list.
“Dude, I would have killed Aljamain. [Sterling]Sabatello said. “This is a fight where obviously I can’t call these guys from the UFC because I’m just not going to fight them anytime soon – I’m in Bellator, it would be stupid to call them. I would fuck Aljamain. Stylistically, this is a simple fight. Look at it stylistically, this is a fight where I would screw him up. But obviously right now I just want to stick with Bellator. These guys are on my plate, but Aljamain, this is an easy fight. It’s an easier fight than Hego, Stots or any of those guys. But yes, Bellator’s bantamweight division is the best.
“Look at our fucking top 8 with Magomed – Magomed beat Yan. Stoc. Sergio [Pettis] sucks, i don’t want to drag him into the conversation, but yeah, Stots, Magomed, me, Patchy Mix, if he has your back, he’s very hard to get rid of. [Enrique] Barzola is good. Hego has some good victories.
“When you look at them wrestlers like Merab [Dvalishvili]who can’t hold anyone. All he does is bring people back. They count them as takedowns, but it’s just checkmate. He can’t fucking keep anyone. It’s a pity. I would also take a walk with Merab. I take it very seriously that I truly consider the Bellator bantamweight to be the best in MMA and again, this tournament makes it that much sweeter. I love that it’s a tournament because in many cases where you don’t have a tournament you get to choose who gets the title shot. No. I have to go through the fucking tournament, I have to go through the fucking bell ringer where no one can say shit. I had to go through everyone to get this championship title.”
This assertion is difficult to dispute. Now the top lines of the rating in the bantamweight division are beyond his reach. Even if he could fight Sterling or Dvalishvili, he wouldn’t offer any benefit. But if he wins the tournament, he can at least make it clear that he should be considered one of the best 135-pound fighters in the world. With the exception of the champion who is recovering from injury, all the top names compete in the Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix. At the end of it all, there is a $1 million prize.
“I don’t even want to think about it right now,” Sabatello said. “Obviously, the money will be good. I can think of a million different things, most of which involve models on a yacht in Sicily, but I can probably do it right now. So I’m just more focused on being the best bantamweight in the world.”
Money is one carrot on the way. There is also the satisfaction that comes from a lifelong wrestler in Sabatello who cares the most about competition, the honor of being called the best. By the way, this is not a lifetime appointment. He wants to go through the bell, walk out with his hand up, and then celebrate very loudly. This is not his MMA immortality game.
You know what Danny Sabatello says about these fighters who want their names to go on forever?
“People want to say they are doing it for the legacy, like when they die they want their name to be kept,” he said. “Dude, I don’t care. I will be dead. I won’t even get a chance to take care of myself, so who the hell cares.”