Joey Beltran Has No Problem Playing Gatekeeper in UFC’s Heavyweight Class

Joey Beltran

Beltran meets Lavar Johnson at UFC on Fox in Chicago

CHICAGO – If Joey Beltran is supposed to be concerned with Lavar Johnson’s heavy hands, apparently it’s a memo that missed him.

“The Mexicutioner” has become a fan favorite for his granite chin and his ability to continuously come forward despite the firepower past opponents have launched his way. Both are attributes he plans on utilizing against Johnson on Saturday at UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis in Chicago.

While Johnson’s record is littered with knockout victims, Beltran doesn’t believe his opponent will be the first to do what no one else has been able to accomplish. Wednesday after a workout at the Chicago Boxing Club, Beltran told HeavyMMA his secret weapon comes in the form of a mustache. And a spectacular one, at that.

“I feel extra Mexican with this mustache,” Beltran said. “I am drawing from the power of my heritage that I’m going to need to pull off the victory this Saturday night. I’m telling you right now, this is going to be an awesome fight.

“There are some great fights on the card, but it would be a safe bet that our fight is going to be the Fight of the Night. Or it could be Knockout of the Night because somebody might be going to sleep. It is tailor-made for my style, and it has fireworks written all over it. I know everybody says that, but it’s just one of those things. I have to get out there, go to work and I should be successful.”

As far as game planning is concerned, neither fighter has made it a secret as to what they intend to do. Despite being the smaller fighter, Beltran doesn’t believe Johnson brings anything to the table he hasn’t experienced before.

“Bottom line – everybody I fight is 6-(foot)-4, 250 pounds,” Beltran said. “They are all bigger than I am. They all hit harder and are faster than me. But nobody has been able to put me away, and Lavar is not going to be any different. I seriously doubt he punches harder than Matt Mitrione or kicks harder than Pat Barry. If his plan is to come out there and knock me out, it is going to be a long night for him because that (crap) isn’t going to happen. He thinks he is going to knock me out? Good for him. Let him try it.”

Throughout the UFC, every division has one fighter the organization seems to turn to when it is time to test up and coming fighters. The commonly used term in MMA is “gatekeeper,” and while some fighters attempt to avoid being placed in this category, Beltran wholeheartedly embraces it.

“I’m right here and I like this role of gatekeeper,” Beltran said. “People think of it as some type of insult, but I’d rather be a gatekeeper for the UFC, which is the biggest promotion in the world, than being the big fish of ‘Wild Bill’s Cage Fighting’ in Louisville, Ky. I made up that name, but still. If that is the way the UFC sees best to use me, then I’m all for it. At the end of the day, I’m not here to be famous. I’m not here to do anything but fight. The fans and doing media is great, but at the end of the day I’m here to make rent money.”


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