Bellator Fighting Championships announced today that three-time world champion Greco-Roman wrestler Joe Warren (2-1) has signed with Bellator. He will compete in the promotion’s upcoming featherweight tournament this April on FOX Sports Net, NBC, and Telemundo.
Warren is known throughout MMA for making one of the most remarkable debuts in the sport’s history. He battered former WEC Champion Chase Beebe and took out Japanese star Kid Yamamoto in his first two professional fights, before losing to highly regarded Bibiano Fernandes in October.
Still a relative novice in the sport, Warren has been competing at a world-class level for years. He trained with the U.S Olympic Team and took home gold medals at the 2006 Pan-Am Games, the 2006 FILA Wrestling World Championships and the 2007 Wrestling World Cup. Before that, he was an All-American freestyle wrestler at the University of Michigan.
“We are very excited about this signing and being the MMA organization that brought Joe back to the states,” said Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Joe has the ability, drive, confidence and personality to become a star in our sport. His first two wins would make a good career for most fighters, and as his stand-up continues developing, the sky is the limit for Joe Warren.”
Warren, who is a member of the famed Team Quest, said he is focused now on continuing to hone his stand-up game. His education has been accelerated by training with other top-caliber fighters including former WEC Champion Urijah Faber, recent Strikeforce capture Dan Henderson and WEC title contender Scott Jorgensen.
“My hands are getting quicker, I’m seeing the openings quicker…I’m just getting better every single day. I’m already 1,000 times better than I was in my last fight,” he said. “With my style and my experience and my never-lose, never-die attitude, it’s gonna be really exciting for Bellator and for everyone who’ll be watching on TV.”
Warren is entering a loaded eight-man Season 2 featherweight tournament where competitors include William Romero, Patricio Pitbull and Bao Quach.
How he'll do will depend largely on how he continues to pick up the stand-up, and submission end of the sport. With Romero and Freire in the field, Warren will have the opportunity to prove he's not going to make mistakes like leaving his hand on the mat while in guard which was the fatal error in his DREAM Grand Prix semifinal run.
With this inspired signing, the upcoming Featherweight tournament might now be even more impressive than it's already thick Welterweight bracket, featuring Ben Askren, Dan Hornbuckle, "Judo" Jim Wallhead and Jacob McClintock.