This Friday night at Bellator 222, Patrick Mix takes on Ricky Bandejas in a key matchup of Bantamweight prospects.
It's only Mix's promotional debut but appears to have major title implications, with the winner of this bout being a potential next challenger for the Bellator Bantamweight Title. Though a quite unique clash in terms of timing and circumstance, Mix (10-0) wasn't surprised when Bellator offered him the fight. “Well I figured we could fight because even though I live at Jackson’s and he’s still in Jersey, I’m still from New York and he’s from Jersey," he explained to James Lynch in an interview with Fightful.
"So I thought that match could come to fruition for MSG when I heard the card be announced. He actually called for the fight first, and I was in Ali’s (Abdelaziz) ear, eager to try to make it happen and then once Ali said ‘that’s the guy and we can make it happen,’ I blasted social media to try to make it, sign it and let’s do it. He fights hard fights, Bandejas that is and so do I.
"So from a promotion standpoint, it could’ve been cool for them to keep us away from each other a little longer but we’re both, I mean I’m chopping at the bit to try to fight the best guys that are gonna earn me a shot at Darrion Caldwell, (Kyoji) Horiguchi or whoever has the belt at the time. I want the best guys. So once they offered him, it was no questions, no thought process in my mind because I believe I can fight all the guys on the roster and in myself, I believe I can beat them all as well."
While a top contender, Bandejas (11-2) actually lost his last fight, being outpointed by Juan Archuleta. Mix isn't basing his approach on Archuleta though, focusing more on himself. “I don’t really fight like Archuleta, he fights a lot different than me but I know that if I fight my style of fight . . . I finish him (Bandejas). I finish anybody at the 135 pound weight limit if I fight my style of fight. So I’m not really blueprinting off how Juan did it.
"Juan did things correctly and he also did things that I thought weren’t the best decision against Ricky so I’m just planning on focusing what I do. And also focusing on what he does well. Shut those things down too. "
Regardless of the plan, Mix's ideal end result remains unchanged, scoring the finish and immediately arriving as a top contender. “I’m coming out there to win but I’m coming out there to finish him," he said. He’s been finished and I finish better than those that guys that have beaten him. I’m coming there to finish him, I’m coming there to put him away. He’s ranked #3 and after this fight, I plan to be in that ranking and I plan to get the big fights. By no means necessary is Ricky an easy fight and he’s not easy to be finished but if one person’s gonna do it, it’s gonna be me."
With five straight finishes, Mix's confidence is hard to argue with but he's not looking beyond this fight, instead expressing his gratitude for the bout even taking place. “I’m just grateful to get the matchup. I don’t really think a lot of people wanted to fight him so I’m grateful to get the matchup because it’s such a big matchup. Me being 10-0 and then with the implications of what this fight does for me, it’s a humongous fight. So right now, I am just grateful to have it."
Bellator 222 takes place this Friday night at Madison Square Garden and airs on DAZN. It's currently headlined by Rory MacDonald's title defense against Neiman Gracie as well as Chael Sonnen's fight with Lyoto Machida. For Fightful's full interview with Mix, check out the video above.