Chi Lewis-Parry (6-1, 2 KO's) originally came to AKA as a sparring partner for Daniel Cormier as he prepared for his rematch with Jon Jones. When that fight was nixed due to Cormier sustaining an injury, Lewis-Parry booked a spot on the GLORY card in May then stayed on to help former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez train for his July fight with Travis Browne.
A two-sport competitor himself, Lewis-Parry has largely refrained from training MMA in his time at AKA, concentrating instead on his stand-up. "It's a bit frustrating sometimes but I have to keep my eyes on the prize. I am competing under GLORY rules next month so I don't want to lose focus or get injured doing things I don't need to be doing," he tells Bloody Elbow.
"Bellator is an option, World Series of Fighting was an option back in December, there's been UFC dialog. But right now my focus is to get a title shot in GLORY. We've just seen Mladen Brestovac get a title shot, even though he lost to Benjamin Adegbuyi in the contender tournament that got Benny the title shot. So I reckon if I can get top five, I can get that title shot.
"I want to win this next fight and then I am going to start calling for it. Rico Verhoeven knows I will sell the s--t out of it. Experience doesn't matter, it's a fun fight and it will draw. So let's get this win and then I am going to start calling for a title shot. The poster alone will be better than the fights he's had. Why? Because I will be on it."
Aside from a two-fight UFC tenure, Inocente (28-7, 15 KO's) is also a Shooto and Strikeforce veteran. He is a striking specialist and like Lewis-Parry has maintained a two-sport presence. For some years he was present at The Blackzilians in Florida – he had a notorious rivalry with Alistair Overeem there – but he is now back in his native Brazil.
He debuted at GLORY 27 with a stunning spinning heel-kick knockout win over Demoreo Dennis who, ironically, and dropped to light-heavyweight after a KO loss to Lewis-Parry. After the win, Inocente announced he was moving up to heavyweight to chase a title shot against Rico Verhoeven.
"Everyone's chasing a title shot. Good luck with that one mate. I think he's a good kicker but he has got no hands whatsoever. I don't look at his hands and go 'Oh my god, he's got great hands.' He's a very diverse kicker, he has obviously been doing that since he was a kid, he's a very confident kicker. But let's see him get his leg up to my head," laughs. Lewis-Parry
"There's something about him, I don't know what it is. I look at him and I think, 'This guy is not serious, he's not a really credible guy.' He had a good knockout against Demoreo Dennis but that was kind of luck as well. He threw some spinning s--t and it landed."
A trash-talker ever since he first hit the school playground, Lewis-Parry is a fighter who enjoys the cut and thrust of verbal altercation prior to engaging in its physical element. He thrives on it, but struggles when he doesn't have a willing or able opponent. So, in his words, he's "letting Inocente off lightly".
"He doesn't speak English, so far as I know, so it's hard for me to go after him. I can say what I want but he's not going to come back, so what's the point? All I can say is the usual: I respect the guy and he's a good fighter but I am going to bust his chops," he says.
"It's like if you fight Fedor, the promo for it is just awful because he doesn't speak English and doesn't say anything. But we will see each other face to face at the weigh ins and then there will be some fireworks."
Mention of face-to-face fireworks turns the conversation towards the interactions Lewis-Parry had with UFC light-heavyweight interim champion Jon Jones, former holder of the undisputed title now wrapped around Daniel Cormier's waist. Back in March he accompanied Cormier to a press engagement in Las Vegas and ended up getting into it with Jones.
The spat was well-publicized at the time, with Lewis-Parry appearing on The MMA Hour specifically to declare Jones to be "the biggest d—k on the planet". Cormier's injury postponed the fight but Lewis-Parry's feelings on Jones remain as strong as ever.
"I think he feels he is so far above anyone else that he can demand anything. The same as McGregor at the moment. It's like they feel like they are now bigger than the machine. I just think Jones thinks it is his right to do whatever he wants," he says.
"I have heard a lot of stories about him from insiders and I am like 'f--king hell, this is how he behaves?' I feel sorry for his family that they have to put up with it. You watch that most recent Countdown he did and he's talking about how he stays in the spare room away from his wife for 'focus' or something?
"Bollocks. That's not why he's in that spare room. That house has a cold vibe to it, you can feel it. Compare that [Countdown] to an earlier one where they are in his house, the vibe is completely different. He's not in the spare room for no reason."
Lewis-Parry says of his first meeting with Jones "honestly, I have never met anyone and disliked them so fast... He is such a liar. I think he cannot help it, really. It's like he is a compulsive liar but that he also believes his own lies. This guy can act, believe me, he is the DiCaprio of MMA. Do not believe a word that guy says. He is a s--t person. And he's a bully, you can tell he was a bully in school."
The fight between Lewis-Parry and Inocente takes place on the 'GLORY 30 Los Angeles: Superfight Series' card taking place Friday, May 13 at the Citizen Bank Arena in the Ontario suburb of Los Angeles, California. The card airs live worldwide on UFC Fight Pass and also features the debut of women's standout Tiffany Van Soest, who recently signed a joint deal with GLORY and Invicta MMA.