Both men have more than a little in common. They've walked the same road, not hand in hand, but along the same path, surviving the grueling Bellator tournament. Joe Soto won the inaugural featherweight tourney in 2009 by choking out tough Mexican fighter Yahir Reyes. Joe Warren earned the right to face him with the title on the line by beating Patricio Freire in a razor thin decision this June in Louisville.
And as the two prepare to square off tonight on Fox Sports, what was once just another title fight is quietly becoming something else all together. Bellator may have their first grudge match tonight.
Warren, one of the world's best greco-roman wrestlers, is certainly not lacking in talent. But Soto thinks he is lacking in something else that usually defines the mixed martial artist - humility:
It would suck to lose to him; I never want to lose to a dirt bag like that...All he does better than me is talk s***. Talking is the only thing he does better. He keeps a good pace , but I don’t see anything in the cage he does better than me. He’s got weak punches when he’s on top, nothing I’m scared of."
Warren believes he's already bettter than Soto. And the scary part? The former Olympic favorite thinks his potential is basically unlimited:
As far as my potential, I’m about 20 percent of where I can be. I’ve got 80 more percent coming. Any competitor should be scared as hell. Just because I’m older doesn’t mean I’m not nasty."
Warren and Soto headline a card that also features three bantamweight quarterfinals. Quotes courtesy of Bellator.