Bellator 274 is happening this Saturday (February 19th) from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The top of the billing will feature two extraordinary grapplers going at it when 6x high school state wrestling champion and 4x All American, Logan Storley, squares up with the prolific submission skills of Neiman Gracie.
Before his first promotional main event, Storley sat down with Bloody Elbow to discuss getting five rounds to work instead of three, world class stablemates at Sanford MMA, and building a portfolio outside of fighting for financial freedom.
- Your only loss was a split decision to now welterweight champion, Yaroslav Amosov. That was a three round fight, and at the end of the the third, you were pushing the pace and putting it on him. If you had two more rounds that night, do you think you would have finished Amosov?
“I mean it’s hard to say, right? I felt like I was gaining momentum in that fight. I’ll say that. We can’t sit here and say I would have done this, I would have done that. Well, that wasn’t the case that night with only three rounds, but I was starting to find own, land my shots, had that rear-naked in tight, hit him with some uppercuts that hurt him, and kind of pushed the pace... I want that rematch, so we’ll hopefully get to find out what would happen in the fourth and fifth round here in a couple of months, after this fight.”
- When Logan Storley is across from you in the cage, he’s in your face, getting takedowns, and he’s trying to break you. Do you think Gracie is going to be able to go five hard rounds with you?
“He’s done it with Rory [MacDonald], and then he fought Ed [Ruth], and he did a good job in the Ed fight. He really came on in the fourth round. Rory did a good job of controlling him. I’ve wrestled against Ed in NCAA, know Ed, and the Rory was a former training partner of mine. So, we’ll see. It depends on how this fight goes. If I get to my spots, then no, I don’t think there’s very many people that can handle my pressure for five rounds.”
- Gracie scored a standing TKO of all things in his last match. Do you expect him to try and keep it on the feet with you?
“He’s really slick with his submissions, and I’m really heavy with my pressure and landing my shots. The old grappler vs. grappler sometimes turns into a standup fight, you know, so we’ll see. obviously he’s been working on his hands. I’ve been working on my hands. I think we both in our minds think we’re better there than the other person, and we’re going to find out on February 19th.”
- Yeah, like you were saying earlier, you did put some hands on Amosov. Is that Henry Hooft in you? Is that Sanford MMA?
“Yeah, you got Henry Hooft, Jason Strout, Robbie Lawler. I’ve worked with a lot of these guys, and it just slowly starting to pick up. I think I really hit my stride. After this last fight I took a break, two-three weeks off, and I came back and something clicked. I’m really looking forward to showing that.“
- Who are some of your main training partners out there?
“For sparring I have Gilbert Burns, Shavkat [Rakhmonov], who just fought and had a beautiful TKO, or KO. Spent a lot of time with him this camp, and then Robbie Lawler. When Michael Chandler’s in town. Vicente Luque, Ian Garry, Jason Jackson. I mean the list goes on and on. Kevin Lee is here now. You got a roster of 55, 70, 85 pounder’s and I think we have the best team in the world.”
- I spoke to your teammate Ryan Bader recently, and he put me on to drinking CBD as an alternative to drops or smoking it. Are you on that same wave, and if so what’s the biggest benefit you notice?
We’ve been on it for two-years now with Kill Cliff... I’m a guy that will sometimes will get bad inflammation, and I definitely think you can tell difference. Everyone’s different. Some people can’t tell anything, the next person it’s life changing with CBD. For me, I can definitely tell a difference.”
- Do you still talk to Brock Lesnar?
“If we’re both back home in Webster, and things like that. But he’s doing his own thing; I’m doing my own thing. He’s helped Gable out a lot, Gable Stevenson, and he’s in touch with the coaches, the U of M [University of Minnesota] guys. Same with me, but no not unless I really need something, or along those lines. He’s a guy I spent a lot of time with when i was in high school, and kind of introduced me to the sport. A guy to look up to from the same town of less than 2,000 people, and this guy goes and becomes UFC champ, and things he was doing in the WWE, and being a NCAA champ. So, I definitely appreciate everything that he’s done for me, and kind of giving me insight into what this really looks like.”
- Man, what is in the water in Webster? I need some of that.
- With being around someone like Brock, who kind of showed you a path after wrestling, was there ever a time when competing wasn’t something you desired, or did you ever have dreams unrelated to MMA?
“I wanted to coach. There was a time when coaching. I do a lot of real estate stuff on my own. So, I enjoy that. We have our own thing. I love fighting, and it’s what I do, but sometimes you need a break from it as well. You know, the ins and outs. So I enjoy coaching, and enjoy doing my real estate investing and things like that.”
- You almost have to have side hustles to compete in the sport of MMA. Was that something you knew before you got into it?
“I think for me, the biggest thing is that if it ever came down to a point where I wasn’t enjoying it, or maybe I wasn’t having maybe the success I thought I was, or you get hurt. We’ve seen guys go with head injuries. When it’s over, it’s over and that can be at any time in the sport. That’s just the honest truth.”
“So for me, I wanted to have something set aside where I could go do other things, and there wasn’t so much pressure every fight that you’re fighting for money. It’s not fun when you’re, and that’s anybody in life, when you’re constantly looking at the checkbook. It’s like man, I have to do this and adding that extra pressure. I didn’t want that.”
“I wanted to make sure that I kind of set myself up for if I want to be done, I can be done and go do something else. So that was the biggest thing for me. When it’s time to step away, if I don’t want to fight until I’m 40, I don’t have to. I don’t have to keep taking these fights, or go fight in shows I don’t want to. I think we've seen that sometimes with guys, in all sports, not just MMA. You’re looking at other sports, too, when guys make millions of dollars, and somehow it goes away real quick.”