Paul Daley went out with a bang in the only way that he can.
This past Friday (May 13, 2022), “Semtex” made his final walk to the cage at Bellator 281 in his home of London, England against Wendell Giacomo. In what was his 64th career bout in mixed martial arts (MMA), Daley scored a vintage knockout late in the second round to cap off 19 years of providing fans with entertainment (watch highlights).
Daley, 39, already came out of a semi-retirement of sorts a few years back, but this time he has no intentions of fighting again. … Unless, of course, he gets a rematch with one of his two higher-profile former foes.
“I don’t wish I could get back any fight in terms of changing what’s already happened, but I think if I was to pick a fight to have a rematch, it would definitely be Nick Diaz or [Jorge] Masvidal, because they’re the ones that have turned into pay-per-view stars and I could get the most money from,” Daley told MMA Fighting’s The MMA Hour. “Nick Diaz was a great fight, and I beat Masvidal and he holds the ‘BMF’ (Baddest Motherf—ker) belt, I think, even though he’s lost his last fight. Those are the ones that if someone came to me and says, ‘Right, what’s going to get you out of retirement?’ Those two fights, that is it. Those are the only two fights that put me out, because I know they’re going to make me top money.”
Still to this day highlighted as perhaps Daley’s most memorable fight, the Brit challenged Diaz for the Strikeforce Welterweight title in Apr. 2011. Coming up short via knockout in the waning seconds of the opening round, Daley, unsurprisingly, isn’t the biggest fan of the fight thanks to the result.
As for his meeting with Masvidal, that fight was a part of the winning streak that earned Daley his crack at Diaz. Competing in the now-defunct Shark Fights promotion, Daley defeated Masvidal via unanimous decision in what was the second win among his then four-fight winning streak.
“I’m done, but I did say those two fights,” Daley said. “Diaz. Masvidal. If those ever materialized, I’d 100 percent be down, but those are the only fights, really the only fights.
“They’ve become huge stars since and I feel like they would accept the fight because we sort of come from the era of those types of fighters and that they kind of see like, ‘Yeah man, Paul was around when we were around. He’s a real fighter, he’s a real dog. He hasn’t got the shine, let me give him a little shine,’” he concluded. “I feel that they’re that type of character. Real recognize real is what we say, but I don’t know if they’re tied into any promotions and that would happen. But if the opportunity comes up, I’d take those fights.”
Diaz and Masvidal are both still currently under contract with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the promotion Daley was banned for life from after he punched Josh Koscheck following their fight in May 2010. Daley lost via unanimous decision.
Diaz most recently made a return to action after six years away when rematching Robbie Lawler at UFC 266 in Sept. 2021. Lawler scored redemption against Diaz via third-round technical knockout (watch highlights). Masvidal, on the other hand, had his current skid extended to three after dropping a unanimous decision against Colby Covington at UFC 272 in Mar. 2022 (watch highlights). Outside of the cage, “Gamebred” is also dealing with a legal case involving an alleged assault on Covington.