Brian Bouland: I need to finish him and make the fans shout “Oh my god”

Brian Bouland (9-2) quit his job and decided to focus solely on MMA at the start of the year and plans to become the 89th fighter to have competed under the Cage Warriors banner and then signed a UFC contract.

“I’ve done everything I can to get this title shot and I have done everything I need to do to become a world champion. I’m very confident that I am going to win this fight and get to the next level, Dominick Cruz says it is all or nothing in this sport, and I believe that, and I am giving it my everything and I’m very confident.”

“I think it is one of the best titles to go for in the world, and it was one of the reasons I knew I wanted to sign with Cage Warriors, they give you a place to shine and they can get you into the UFC.”

The Frenchman moved to Belgium in 2008 and has not fought in his adopted country since late 2012, instead choosing to fight in Switzerland and in the United Kingdom. He estimates that there were 20 people who had travelled from Belgium to watch him fight at Cage Warriors 86 in London, the London-based promotion have promoted their return to Belgium by placing a local fighter in the main event and Bouland expects a large contingent of friends, teammates, and fans to make the short journey from Brussels to Antwerp as he aims to become the next Cage Warriors bantamweight champion when he faces Ilia Topuria.

“I have a lot of people coming,” he said. “I always have people asking me when they can watch me fight locally, and I’ve always had to tell them to go to London or somewhere else, but now they’ll be able to watch me in person.”

“I want to win in great fashion for my people, and fans around the world will see a great performance. I want them to remember this fight and my name, it won’t be a boring finish. I need to finish him and make the fans shout ‘oh my god!’”

Bouland has walked into enemy territory when competing outside of Belgium, and being the hometown hero is an alien concept to him. The bantamweight was forced to look for fights outside of Belgium due to a lack of opponents available, and the well-documents attitude the French government have towards MMA meant that competing in his country of birth is not possible. The travel forced the 32-year-old to focus on the opponent directly in front of him and not the crowd that would boo him, and he plans to have the same attitude when he walks into an arena where the majority of the crowd are cheering for him.

“I’m very experienced in fighting outside of Belgium, so this will be a different experience for me. It has been a few years since I last fought in Belgium. I’m trying to just stay focused on the fight, I don’t want to get excited that I am fighting closer to home, my focus has to be what happens in the cage, it doesn’t matter where you fight, it is always the same experience when you step in the cage.”

“I visualised what the walk to the cage would be like so that I don’t get emotional. I’ve been to places and the crowd have been against me, and I focus only on the cage then as well, and I’ll do the same now.”

“It will be different after the fight when I win and become champion, then I’ll appreciate the moment and celebrate with the crowd and my people.”

Cage Warriors announced on Friday afternoon that Jack ‘Tank’ Shore would be returning to the cage in September and that he would be competing for the Cage Warriors bantamweight title, which Nathaniel Wood vacated after signing with the UFC. Bouland had asked Cage Warriors to match him against Jack Shore for the vacant title but the Welshman was still recovering from an injury, and matchmaker Ian Dean turned to Spaniard Ilia Topuria. Topuria failed to make weight on Friday and won’t be eligible to be crowned bantamweight champion.

“Ilia has a good wrestling background and good jiu jitsu, he’ll probably look to take me down and try to submit me. I’ve watched his fights and have a strategy to beat him and I’m confident that I will win.”

“When I signed with Cage Warriors I told them that I wanted to fight for the belt. They gave me some good fights to get me to the top of the division. I’m focused on winning this fight, getting the title, defending it and then my goal is to go into the UFC.”

“It will be a great fight against Jack and I’m confident I will defeat him, I wanted to fight him in Belgium, we both wanted to fight Nathaniel Wood before and there was confusion over who was the top contender, but I will show him that it was me.”

The Team Red Kings MMA fighter has been visiting Dublin since 2015 to spend time training under John Kavanagh. He recently spent a week at SBG Ireland in May, and plans to continue visiting on a regular basis. “It is such a good place to train,” he told SevereMMA.

“They treat us like martial artists and athletes, whereas some gyms focus on the tough warrior training, John and his coaching team have given me some really good advice before and have helped me improve.”

Article by Jeevan

Owner/Editor of Writer, Podcaster, Producer of 'Notorious: Conor McGregor' film, 'Conor McGregor: Notorious' TV series, 'Ten Thousand Hours', 'The Fighting Irish' and more documentary films.