NNine days ago, Nikita Krylov brutally punched Paul Craig as he was on his back on the mat in front of 17,000 spectators at the O2 Arena.
Many spectators at UFC London believed the Scot was about to suffer a devastating loss. But Craig’s five-fight unbeaten streak had been fueled by a special driving force that allowed the light heavyweight to escape the clutches of defeat once more. To earn a stoppage victory against Krylov. Extending that unbeaten streak to six fights. He’s considered one of the UK’s top 11 MMA fighters.
Craig found it almost unbearable to think of his girls having to start school on a Monday morning without their father.
Maia, the youngest, is still in elementary school at age 7, and Millie, the oldest, is in high school at age 15, according to Craig, who spoke to The Independent. “Millie is navigating adolescence, and I am aware of the brutality that teenagers can exhibit. I’ve also worked as a teacher in high schools. The last thing I want is for them to worry about their dad at school when they go to class.
“It’s terrible that anyone would want to hear anything bad stated about their parents. And because I had females, I’m a little bit more strict with them. I don’t want my girls to cope with that kind of foolishness because they are sweet and very polite.
Paul Craig’s motivation
They were kind of forced into this and didn’t choose to be a part of it, therefore they are now stuck with my repercussions. Need to consider their feelings because I had them participate under duress. I had children when I was 18 years old. I had just graduated from high school when I got pregnant and had to make my own way. Never had the opportunity to go to college, get a job, or work a 9 to 5. I had the following choice: “You need to be the best damn dad you can ever be.”
By submitting Krylov with a triangle choke in the first round, Paul (16-4) allayed his personal concerns for his girls and sparked the loudest sporting event celebrations in O2 Arena history from the UFC London audience.
Craig, who disclosed in his post-fight interview that his youngest was named after UFC legend Demian Maia, adds that while it was wonderful that both Millie and Maia’s names were mentioned on television, his younger daughter now believes she is a celebrity. She claims, “I’m well-known on Twitter and I’m on TV. Therefore, I believe she was signing autographs on Monday.
With his submission of Krylov, Paul made it four victories and four finishes in a row for “Bearjew,”. Who had previously drawn with former champion Mauricio Rua and defeated Vinicius Moreira in his previous two fights.
The 34-year-ability old’s to control his concerns for his kids’ well-being has undoubtedly helped him, but I think it must also add pressure that threatens to choke the Scot – pressure that may even rival that felt by a fighter competing for a title.
Paul Craig laments, “I hate to think about them seeing me lose, but I have to.” “It’s not embarrassing for their dad to have lost to a top-tier opponent in the UFC, the apex of mixed martial arts. As long as their father is healthy, fit, and all of that, they will continue to be proud. But I energise myself with it. And they will eventually have to deal with it because no one can finish their career without experiencing some sort of loss, unless you’re Khabib [Nurmagomedov].
With his victory at UFC London, Paul rose to the top 10 at light heavyweight, and he has since set his sights on a top-five foe. His run of successes has also altered his original retirement plan for age 35, but not his outlook on the future.
It’s returning to normal, as Paul Craig puts it. “I am more than happy to return to a 9–5 work and leave this sport without becoming a millionaire. As long as I had performed to the very best of my ability in MMA, I would be content working in a factory, supermarket, or restaurant.
“I’ve had a really nice life. I changed careers from teaching to fighting to who knows what. Nevertheless, I am confident that I won’t be moving backward; having done and experienced it, I won’t return to teaching. Regressing in life is the very last thing I want to do. For me, living is all about taking risks and trying new things.
Thoughts of a life beyond fighting will have to wait for the time being. As Craig is probably just one victory away from competing for the UFC light heavyweight title.
The Scot might soon find himself in the Octagon with champion Glover Teixeira – or Jiri Prochazka. Should the Pole dethrone the Brazilian in June when the pair are slated to face off. The Scot murmured to Krylov, “It’s over,” as the Ukrainian fought against the submission that finished him.
Paul Craig adds of Glover. “I truly would want to fight him since he’s one of the old guard in the division. His victory for the title was tremendous. “With him, the question becomes: Who is a greater Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, the Brazilian guy or the Scottish one? However, one of Glover’s issues is that if you defeat a 42-year-old man, people will say:
You can never defeat him at his best. When you deal with Jiri’s technique and ride the storm a little bit, the battle gets good and even. There will be elbows, strong ground work, and high kicks. I’d be more excited about that than the Glover fight.
Craig may eventually ride that storm, but for the time being his attention is on “riding the wave” that represents this stage of his MMA career. Even if it ends with Craig retiring against top competition, he will still do what he has always done: move forward. It might still result in a title victory. It would be one of many lessons from which Millie and Maia may learn.