Henry Corrales has come up short in all three of his Bellator MMA fights, but his competition has been very stiff. He debuted against current featherweight champion Daniel Straus, then fought Emmanuel Sanchez, and most recently got choked out by ex-titleholder Patricio Freire.
Although Corrales’ preference is to be in the winning column, he personally asked to fight the best Bellator MMA has to offer and is “happy with” his career, even “coming off three losses.”
However, Corrales is changing things up ahead of his fight against A.J. McKee at Bellator 160 later this month in hopes to win inside the Bellator MMA cage. He recently began training at The MMA Lab in Glendale, Ariz., with some of the top fighters in the sport.
“I’m from Southern California — L.A. County, Orange County area. I’m out here with Benson Henderson at the [MMA] Lab,” Corrales told BloodyElbow.com. “He’s the main event; he’s fighting my last opponent, the Pitbull. My other buddy, Jake Roberts, he’s also fighting on the card. So we’re out here getting ready, all under one roof, just a bunch of high-quality training partners. And my head coach, he moved down here. And my striking coach, Eddie Cha, he’s down here permanently. So I came out here.
“I’m out here during the week and I’m back in Orange County on the weekends with Juliano Prado at Total MMA for my jiu-jitsu and stuff. But that’s been a huge difference for me and it’s going to pay off for this fight. I was down here training two weeks before the Pitbull fight. I liked it so much I was like, ‘Cool, I’m gonna come back here for my next camp.’”
Henderson also fights at Bellator 160 — in the main event — against the aforementioned Freire later this month. Despite having already fought Freire, Corrales hasn’t been giving “Smooth” much advice on how to fight Freire because he believes the former UFC champ will be OK on his own.
“I do have a couple words of advice for him,” he said. “But at the end of the day, Benson’s the man. That guy has so much experience; he knows what he’s doing. At the end of the day, just from the outside looking in, this isn’t even a biased opinion on my end, but he’s a lot bigger than Pitbull, he’s a better wrestler, he has better striking, he’s just better than him. It’s a tough for Pitbull. Really tough fight for him.”
Corrales fought Sanchez in his second Bellator MMA outing, as previously mentioned, and dropped a razor-thin split decision. But Corrales suffered a fractured gum line in the first round, and had to undergo surgery afterwards and sit out for seven months. For that reason, among others, he wants to rematch Sanchez after his next fight.
“As soon as I take care of business Aug. 26, I’m gonna get a rematch with Emmanuel Sanchez,” he said. “He fought a handicapped version of myself, and he still couldn’t put me away. He still didn’t even get close to it. He still didn’t want to exchange with me. I heard he’s kind of running his mouth on social media. This is the fight I want.
“He’s a super cool dude. And we ran into each other a couple times since the fight. But he didn’t fight the best version of myself. I’m missing five teeth. He knocked out five of my teeth in the first round.
“I thought I won that fight. I landed the bigger, heavier punches. He didn’t want to engage with me. He wanted to just kind of fold and fall and take me down. He turned into some type of wrestler all of a sudden when he’s a striker. That’s a fight after this fight that I’m gonna really f-cking campaign for. And not only that, but it’s a super exciting fight. A lot of people were entertained by that fight. A big part of my game is I want to fight for the people.”
Bellator 160 takes place live from the Honda Center in Los Angeles on Aug. 26. Corrales vs. McKee will be featured on the SPIKE TV main card.
Corrales, who is currently riding a three-fight losing streak, says he is in a must-win situation heading into his next fight. But at the same time, he isn’t sure whether he’d get released or not if he loses.
“This is a must-win,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what Bellator thinks. For me, it’s just like, I gotta f-cking kill this guy. That’s my whole intentions for my training camp for this fight. So that’s kind of where I’m at.
“I gotta put these guys away. I gotta get back to my style.”
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In BloodyElbow.com’s interview with Corrales, he also discusses his mischief-filled childhood and how mixed martial arts changed his life:
“Growing up, I got kicked out of so many schools. I went to like 15 different schools. So I have homies everywhere, from all different school districts. Now I’m a law-abiding citizen, but back then, I was f-cking crazy. I didn’t know better. I thought it was normal. My whole life is just completely different, though. Slowly but surely, just kind of like getting over getting in trouble. Not chasing my dreams and kind of like chasing the fun, women and partying. I kind of shook all that and I started training. I didn’t start training until I was 22, 23 or something like that. Ever since then, I just completely changed my life. Haven’t been arrested since.
“You hear people say it all the time. When I first started training, it sounded kind of cheesy, like, ‘Oh, MMA changed my life, this and that.’ But for me, it literally did. Before I used to go to jail all the time. I used to get arrested and was like, ‘F-ck!’ Just getting in crazy brawls or just stupid sh-t. Now it’s been six years later, seven years later and I’m just like, ‘Oh, wow, I guess this really did change my life.’ I live a completely healthy lifestyle. I don’t even drink. I take care of my body. It really did change my life. It’s [created] connections with a lot of cool people that I don’t think I would have been able to meet before all of this. So it really did change my life.”
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