The upcoming lightweight tournament final between Dave Jansen and Marcin Held is a long time coming, and both fighters are ready to get this fight behind them and move on to a title fight against Michael Chandler.
Originally scheduled for last December, the fight was delayed when Bellator held their event at a casino in Indiana. But because Held was only 20 years of age at the time they could not allow him entry, and the bout had to be delayed.
It was pushed back to early March when yet another delay forced the fight to get moved to this weekend's card in Maine.
Both Held and Jansen voiced their frustration with the situation because as every fighter prepares for a showdown, the goal is to peak at the right time and make sure their body is perfectly conditioned for a certain date.
"It's been a little frustrating," Jansen told Bleacher Report about the situation. "I try to remain in the moment and not make a problem out of it. It's a situation and like anything I try to deal with the situations in my life, not focus on the negative. There are some positives. I got more time to prepare and work a solid strategy and still cleaning up my boxing and got to focus on some more leg lock defense as well."
Held was on board with his opponent, and while neither fighter was upset with the other about the delays, they are both ready to move on to new challenges.
"I've been waiting for this fight for a long time. I can't wait anymore," Held said.
The end goal when this fight is done will be a matchup against Bellator lightweight champion and undefeated top-10 fighter Michael Chandler. Since making his debut for Bellator, Chandler has been an unstoppable machine going through opponent after opponent including his title fight win over former champion Eddie Alvarez.
Held actually faced Chandler in March 2011 and lost the fight by arm triangle choke as the former Missouri wrestler marched towards a tournament win and the eventual championship. Now two years later, Held is excited for the chance to show Chandler the kind of fighter he's grown into since their last encounter.
"I would like to fight with him. I'm more experienced, I'm older, I'm stronger, so I would like to try again, but first I have to win the fight with Dave Jansen," said Held.
As much as Jansen would like to say he hasn't thought about facing Michael Chandler, he can't ignore the reality of what happens should he win on Thursday night. Chandler has grown to become one of the true faces of Bellator, and getting the chance to fight him and battle for the gold is a dream worth dreaming.
Jansen is confident that his mind is solely zeroed in on Held right now, but he's thought about how he matches up with Chandler, and he likes his chances.
"I think about it no doubt, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. I feel like having a title fight in the future has been on my mind, but it's not distracting me. The fight in front of me is the biggest fight of my life, and then when I face Michael Chandler that will be the biggest fight of my life," said Jansen.
"Everyone's got holes in their game. I've got holes in mine, Marcin's got holes in his, and Michael Chandler is human like the rest of us. I like my chances against any fighter at 155-pounds. I'm looking forward to these opportunities and what doors they will open for me."
Only one of them will actually get the chance to face Chandler and that will be determined on Thursday night when Jansen and Held battle in the main event of Bellator 92.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained first hand unless otherwise noted
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