On The Spot ~ Dan HornbuckleDan "The Handler" Hornbuckle (20-2) is best known for knocking out Japanese mixed martial arts superstar Akihiro Gono with a devastating head kick at "Sengoku: Ninth Battle" at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan in August 2009. In a fight that few gave Hornbuckle a chance, he showed the world a glimpse of his potential with a knockout that earned him numerous "KO of the Year" nominations. Since that fight he has continued to climb toward his goal, a goal that involves fighting the best en route to becoming a world champion. MMA Spot’s Thomas Caldwell had a chance to sit down with Hornbuckle and ask him some questions as he wrapped up a training session at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla. The Bellator fighter opened up about the promotion, his feelings on the Ben Askren and Ryan Thomas controversy, as well as what will be most important in his continuing journey to the championship.
Thomas Caldwell: How are feeling following your submission victory over Tyler Stinson last week? Dan Hornbuckle: I've been blessed with no injuries. Knock on wood. The fight went quick, so I'm happy with that. I'm right back into my training camp, I started back up yesterday. I fought on Thursday and started camp on Monday. Caldwell: You’ll face Steve Carl (10-1) in the next round. He went to war with Brett Cooper the same evening you fought Stinson. What do you know about Carl, and how will you prepare for him? Hornbuckle: Steve is a tough brawler and a tough wrestler. We already have film on him, and we are breaking him down. I'm excited for this fight with Steve Carl, it's a good match up. I'm just looking forward to going in there and doing what I do, and walking away with my hand raised.
Caldwell: You came into this tournament as the betting favorite to win and projected to face Lyman Good for the championship at the end. With so many talented fighters in the tournament do you agree with the "experts"? Hornbuckle: I don't buy into my own hype. I believe in my ability, and I know I train hard. If I'm the favorite, great. But I know there are two more guys standing in my way before I get to Lyman. That's what I want to do. That's what I'm training to do. I just want to get better and better. I'm not overlooking anyone. Caldwell: How do you feel you match up against Bellator Welterweight Champion Lyman Good? Hornbuckle: That's a fight everyone will get to see. I'm going to win this tournament. Lyman has my belt, it's just a matter of going to get it. I match up well against Lyman. We are both strong, aggressive fighters, and at this point we are both hungry. It will be a really good fight, but in the end, with the ATT power, we are going to win this belt.