Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley: “Fighting is the fun part”

Paul Daley is known as a mixed martial artist who always comes to fight and a lot of opponents have found this out the hard way. With power in both fists, Daley has powered his way to 31 wins in 45 fights. All that at just 30 years old. He has a professional record of 31-12-2 and 22 of those have been by way of knockout. You know if you stand with Paul you are more than likely going to get knocked out. This is backed up by the fact that he has only been TKO’d once in his fighting career. His power has led to his nickname ‘Semtex’ which is related to the explosive power he has in both hands. You can’t argue with that!  Paul has fought his way on to some of the top promotions in the world and is the current Cage Rage UK and World Welterweight Champion, FX3 World Welterweight Champion and King of The Ring Muay Thai World Champion.
His martial arts journey began at aged seven when he took up karate and has never looked back since. He has gone onto be one of the best fighters the UK has ever produced. But when did Paul first think that martial arts could be a career for him?

“When I watched the UFC and Royce Gracie collect a big cheque, I realised you could make money fighting! But as a martial artist, my greatest goal was to be a Ninja.”

Hailing from Nottingham, England, Paul fights out of the Spirit Dojo. A team which is slowly growing and gaining a great reputation. Paul is just starting to be more involved with Spirit Dojo:

“I have been involved with spirit dojo at its current location for seven months, but we have steadily been building the group over 2 years. I enjoy people learning and growing in skill and confidence”.

Getting in the cage and fighting is one thing but stepping away from that focus and helping coach others can be really beneficial to many fighters. It helps you to see things from a different angle and pick up tips that you wouldn’t have seen if you had been in the cage. Paul is starting to find out that coaching is being hugely beneficial to him as a fighter:

“I think the coaching side has made me look more closely at the techniques I use and methods of training. It has definitely helped improve me as a fighter”.


Not just helping him as a fighter, it has helped him to train the next generation of fighters at the gym. But who has the ‘Semtex’ stamp of approval and who should we be looking out for in the future?

“We only have one fighter fighting pro rules K1/Thaiboxing at the moment: Jack Layton. He is a keen and talented fighter. We have a lot of promising amateurs too”.

Training in Nottingham has helped Paul get where he is in his career and has given him the grounding in his career, but he also likes to travel abroad to train. Training in a new country can give you new experiences, new skills and a new outlook on your own fighting style but also on the sport itself. Going abroad to train is something which Paul enjoys a lot and has learnt many things from his travels:

“It’s just refreshing to change training every now and again, USA, AMSTERDAM, THAILAND, I have trained with many great fighters. I would have to say the dutch are extremely strong when it come to striking and the Thai’s have a great mind set and training techniques. The USA obviously has a strong wrestling base combat game”.


This training has lead Paul to become one of the most dominate fighters in the world. He has fought and beaten the best and continues to push himself to the limit, but where does he feel he ranks with the best fighters? From promotions like Bellator, One FC, UFC, WSOF, and BAMMA to name a few.

“I feel I can compete with anyone in the current world TOP TEN. Every fighter has his day, whether ranked or not! I just concentrate on being the best I can be”.

He will put this to the test in his next fight, when he takes on Rodrigo Ribeiro, in the main event of the Dubai Fighting Championships, which hosts DFC 4 on May 10th 2013. Daley is currently signed with Bellator and has fought once for the promotion, defeating Rudy Bears at Bellator 72, by first round TKO, last July. Bellator fans voted the match they would most like to see is Daley vs War Machine. Due to visa issues this couldn’t happen but they are letting him fight in Dubai before heading back to the promotion later this year. So what does Paul think on his upcoming fight and the possibility of fighting War Machine?

“He is a BJJ black belt who has struggled with MMA. I intend to keep the fight standing and KO him. With regards War Machine hopefully the fight can happen this year”.


2013 is looking a busy year for Paul and he has already fought once. Back in February he was the co-main event at Cage Contender 16 in Dublin, Ireland. He fought Patrick Vallee and produced one of the best knockout’s I have seen for a while. With 4:12 gone in the second round he threw up a flying knee and knocked out his opponent instantly. That ranks as one of my all time ‘Semtex’ finishes, but what does he see as his best finishes?

“I enjoyed my Scott Smith and Mark Weir KO’s the most”.

Along with the fighting, something as fans that we don’t get to see is what the fighters go through before a fight. For many fighters weight cutting can be a problem. Paul has missed weight a few times in his career, but how does he feel about weight cutting and would he consider fighting at any other weight before his career is over?

“Weight cutting is something I have had to learn and I think it’s come down to maintaining a sensible weight throughout training camp. I will fight always at welterweight, but would take BIG name catch-weight fights”.

How about the fight day itself. Does Paul have any pre-fight rituals he has to go through?

“I stay relaxed, just enjoy the day and the event. The hard work has already been done. Fighting is the fun part”.

So Paul Daley is a man who has trained and fought all around the world but it was in the UK were he made his name. He has fought on some of the top shows: BAMMA, Cage Rage and Cage Warriors to name a few. How does Paul see the success the UK is starting to have and is there anything he would change?

“I think the UK needs to focus more on branding UK shows rather than chasing the American dream. You only have to look at the success of KSW in Poland, PRIDE in Japan, and the old cage rages in the UK to know it can be done”.


Fighting in the UK though has given Paul chance to train with and see some of the top talent the country has to offer. With so many big British names out there fighting it wont be long before we have a UK based champion in the UFC. Paul has quite a list of fighters who he thinks are the best:

“Bisping, Pickett, Hardy, Conor McGregor all have great potential”.

Throughout his career Paul has always had great support from his loyal fan base. This is something which means a lot to him and he has a message for his fans and sponsors alike.

“Big thanks for the continued support, cannot do this without you guys! Shout outs to Banned Fightwear, Fearless Fightwear and Maximuscle for their continued support also”.

With a professional career that has spanned over 10 years in the MMA world and even longer training in Martial Arts, Paul Daley is a fighter who has worked hard to get to where he is now. ‘Semtex’ is someone we can watch anytime and know that the fight could end at any point and usually it’s the ‘Semtex’ bomb that’s exploding in his opponent’s face.
If you want to know more about Paul Daley or the Spirit Dojo gym, please check out:
Photo Credit:  “In Cage” Photography –
Photo Credit: Kiai Centre Liverpool –
I would also like to thank Paul for taking the time to answer the questions, so that I could put this article together.
Be sure to check Paul’s next fight out:

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One thought on “Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley: “Fighting is the fun part”

  1. Pingback: Bellator laced with "Semtex" | Get Real MMAGet Real MMA

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