Joey Beltran on Arnold Adams rematch, BKFC title legacy, and AEW

Photo courtesy Bare Knuckle FC

Joey Beltran on Arnold Adams rematch, BKFC title legacy, and AEW

Joey Beltran takes on Arnold Adams in a high-stakes rematch at BKFC Fight Night New York. It transpires on November 6th and this heavyweight world championship fight emanates from Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino Event Center in Seneca, New York.

I spoke with Beltran ahead of this championship defense and excerpts from our chat are below.

Joey Beltran

Relocating his training to Virginia amid big changes to his personal life

“My wife, Britain Hart, we got married. It just really made sense because she owns a house here, about an hour away from the gym. Her kids are over here so it just made more sense. Miami is nice and all but I mean we have a house. It’s already paid for so it makes no sense financially. Bleeding out a few thousand dollars a month just to live in Miami. There’s great, phenomenal training over here. The sparring that I’ve been getting… If I could write down on a piece of paper what kind of sparring partners I need, it’s like God gifted me a couple of guys that are perfect. They’re probably better at being Arnold Adams than Arnold Adams is. So, it was awesome.”

Getting married to fellow bare-knuckle boxer Britain Hart and being BKFC’s power couple

“It definitely has its benefits. As far as being with somebody who knows the same level of stress. The same level of shenanigans you have to go through as far as dealing with waiting for a fight to be booked. The ups and downs of is it gonna happen? Is it not gonna happen? So we do a really good job of keeping each other grounded and just focusing on the task at hand. Because ultimately, fights are going to happen. It’s that old cliche, stay ready so you don’t have to get ready.”

Working towards this sequel since August 2018 and looking to avenge his only loss in BKFC to Arnold Adams

“I’m ready. I put a lot of thought into my approach. Ultimately, I’m just gonna cut loose. Cut loose and hit that flow state. Everything that I’ve been focusing on. I’ve been putting so much thought into my training and training intelligently. All the specific shit I’ve been working on the last few months. It’s either in there or it’s not. I’m not gonna think about it come fight night. I’m going to cut the leashes off and let the dog loose. Then whatever’s inside is going to come out. So I’m more than confident that I have enough inside of me to take this fool out. So it’s gonna be good.”

The struggles with having COVID-19 a couple of weeks prior to his last BKFC title defense

“Thank god I had Britain (Hart) by my side because I was feeling it. I had a couple of bad moments where I broke down. I was crying and said fuck, man. I’m really gonna lose because of this stupid disease. I can’t run more than two minutes without my chest feeling like it’s gonna explode. What the fuck am I gonna do?…Persevere and keep pushing. Little by little as I started feeling better, I said I can do this. I remember in fight week, I was finally able to get through 5 hard rounds on the mitts. Was like okay, I got this shit. I can do this. I went out and did it.”

Beltran’s goal of five successful title defenses, retiring in 2022, and some preliminary conversations about gloved boxing bouts

“As far as walking away from bare-knuckle, yes. But there’s always an option to do some gloved matches. I mean ultimately, that was the first goal. That was my first dream when I was a little kid. To be the heavyweight champion of the world. I grew up idolizing Julio Cesar Chavez. Then kind of as I got older, MMA just kind of happened. Superfast-like, boom, boom, boom. All of a sudden, I was really successful at MMA. I was like alright, this is what we’re gonna do now. So, I would love to knock that off the bucket list and do at least one gloved boxing match. Because like I said, that was the initial dream when I first started.”

Joey Beltran continued, “I have a couple of fights left on this last contract. So I think ultimately if it made sense, I’m sure (David) Feldman would let me do it. Like if it was a big profile fight, why not? Why not have their best go against our best? That would be kind of cool. But I had a couple of good conversations. I’ll just say that it’s got nothing further than just simple conversation. Money talks as they say.”

BKFC as well as American Top Team representation on AEW television. Plus, if Joey Beltran could ever become All Elite and cut promos of his own on AEW

“I’d be totally up for that. That would be hilarious. I’ve thought about it because I have a little bit of a relationship with a local promotion. Back in my hometown called SoCal Pro Wrestling. Almost about to go to class a couple of times. To go learn how to take some bumps but then some other things popped up. But I definitely have respect for the craft. That’s hard on the body. That’s definitely really, really hard on the body.”

“I’ll tell you right now. If Tony Khan wants to bring me out, I’ll take a chair shot from somebody.”

The biggest differences between the Beltran in the first Adams fight versus what Beltran we’ll see in the rematch

“Just the level of commitment that I have to the game. This is my title. He’s not gonna come and take anything from me. Back then it was still kind of like, Oh well, I had one foot in, one foot out. We’ll see what happens with this fight if I’ll keep going. I was going through a really rough divorce at the time as well. So totally in a different place mentally and spiritually. And I’m ready to go out there and get what’s mine. Because ultimately, I really do believe that that first fight was going my way.”

“I was starting to turn the tide and then he cracked me with a jab. Then the ref stopped it and rightfully so. I get it, I was uncontrollably bleeding but I like my chances in this fight. I liked how shit was going in that first fight. So it’s gonna be good. I look at this as an opportunity to finish the fight that happened back in 2018.”

Parting thoughts for Joey Beltran

“I’m good, man. I’m ready to go out there and let my fists do the talking. Ultimately, like I don’t even know. I haven’t paid attention to if he has had interviews. If he wants to talk smack, whatever. Because I like to live off of how you act in real life. How you act when we’re in the same room. When we’re in the same room, you’re very polite. I’m talking about Arnold (Adams). Very polite, borderline fucking friendly. So if he’s gone off on any tangents, trying to cut any promos and talk shit. I know that’s all fake. And I know that’s all him fucking being nervous. And I would be too if I were him. That’s how I feel.”

Joey Beltran continued, “I’m sick and tired of this society. Now it’s at the point where fighters are running their mouths. I want to go back to a society where you get smacked in the face for talking shit. Whether you’re a pro fighter or not. You know how to act, we know how to act like gentlemen. Like if you’re gonna tell me you’re gonna fucking knock me the fuck out. All right, that’s the first shot. To me mentally, that’s the first day you squared up. So if we’re in public and you come to me in any kind of way, how do I know you’re not going to hit me? I’m going to fucking swing first.”

“I’m sick and tired of this shit. With everybody, people running their mouths on the internet. And before when it was just fans, it’s all good because fans are fans. Fans are allowed to do that. I get it. But if you’re a fucking fighter. Or if you’re a journalist within arm’s reach of me, you want to talk some shit to me or to my wife, keep that same energy. That’s my message. Keep that fucking same energy because I’ve about had enough. I’m taking it back to 2003 where it’s just fucking swinging on people. So, that’s how I’m looking at it.”

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