A Look Back At The Highs and Lows of the Career of Paul Daley

A Look Back At The Highs and Lows of the Career of Paul Daley

By Taylor Dow
Tuesday, May 17th 2022, 11:23PM, 7 months ago

Paul "Semtex" Daley, 39, competed in his final bout this past weekend, scoring a 2nd round knockout against Wendell Giácomo at Bellator 281. "Semtex" went into the fight in his home country knowing it would be his final appearance.

It will be my retirement fight. After many years in the game, the hours on the road, hours in the gym, the years have caught up with me and now every morning I wake up with a bad back, and I’m just tired.
- Daley said to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour in January

After an impressive 64 professional fights, “Semtex” has fought in every top promotion throughout the years including Cage Warriors, Strikeforce, EliteXC, Cage Rage, UFC, Bellator. He fought the who’s who of the Welterweights in the process. To celebrate an exciting career, we take a dive into the life of Paul “Semtex” Daley.

“Semtex”, born in London, England to Caribbean parents, moved to Nottingham at an early age of 8 where he played soccer for Nottingham Forest FC. He began training Karate before transitioning to Muay Thai. "Semtex" is also a former member of the British Army, serving as a reconnaissance driver for the Household Cavalry.

Paul Daley with his Cage Rage Championship Belt
Paul Daley with his Cage Rage Championship Belt

He began training in MMA at the age of 18 and made his pro debut at 20, winning by knockout. Later that year he would also debut as a professional Kickboxer, again winning by knockout. Daley would continue fighting professionally for a total of 19 years and battle the likes of Jorge Masvidal, Nick Diaz, Duane Ludwig, Jake Shields, Josh Koscheck, Tyron Woodley, Rory McDonald, Lorenz Larkin, Jon Fitch and MVP to name a few, finishing with a record of 44-18-2 (35 KOs).

After racking up a 22-8 record, "Semtex" would make his UFC debut in September of 2009 where he scored two first round KOs to start off his tenure.

Paul Daley putting the final blow on Dustin Hazelett at UFC 108. Credits to: Sherdog
Paul Daley putting the final blow on Dustin Hazelett at UFC 108. Credits to: Sherdog

The promotion would put him into a title eliminator bout against Josh Koscheck shortly after where the winner would fight Georges St-Pierre for the Welterweight title. During the first round of the fight Koscheck appeared to simulate being hit with an illegal knee which resulted in a point deduction for Daley, after which Koscheck would use his wrestling to control the remainder of the fight and win a unanimous decision. After the end of the third and final round, Daley approached Koscheck from behind and attempted to hit him in the head with a left hook.

Paul Daley would have challenged Georges St-Pierre for the Welterweight title had he defeated Koscheck. Credits to: Getty Images
Paul Daley would have challenged Georges St-Pierre for the Welterweight title had he defeated Koscheck. Credits to: Getty Images

Referee Dan Miragliotta pinned Daley against the fence to subdue him. In an interview at the conclusion of the event, UFC president Dana White announced that he was banishing Daley from the UFC for life.

There's no excuse for that. These guys are professional athletes. You don't ever hit a guy blatantly after the bell like that, whether you're frustrated or not. I don't care if he fights in every show all over the world and becomes the best and everybody thinks he's the pound for pound best in the world, he will never fight in the UFC ever again
- Dana White at the post fight press conference at UFC 113

Following the incident, Daley apologized for his actions, stating there was "no excuse." After a 30-day suspension, he started his journey outside the UFC and knocked out Daniel Acacio at Impact FC 2 and then won a unanimous decision over Jorge Masvidal to get a Strikeforce contract where he would spend the rest of his career employed by Scott Coker in Strikeforce, BAMMA, and then finally Bellator.

Paul Daley wearing the iconic red Bellator gloves. Credits to: BellatorMMA
Paul Daley wearing the iconic red Bellator gloves. Credits to: BellatorMMA

"Semtex" is adamant on making this retirement stick and doesn't want to be one of those fighters on the receiving end of a losing streak. Going out on a high with a huge KO in his retirement bout is the cherry on top of an already incredible career. Daley had this to say about a potential follow-up fight:

In my head, I’m finished with all combat sports. There’s always enticing offers that come out the woodwork but for me, I’m thinking the whole fight thing is done, I’m a guy with no ego, If worst comes to worst and what I’ve got planned doesn’t work out, I’ll get myself a weekend job at Tesco and stack some shelves for a little bit of change.
- Daley told talkSPORT.

Daley implies he has some big things planned for retirement and really does not want to compete as a professional anymore. You have to admire him wanting to go out on a high and pulling it off, not many fighters have done that.

So, respect, Paul "Semtex" Daley, ride off into the sunset with your head held high; it really could not have ended any more poetic for someone whose made a career by earning KO after KO.

Paul Daley and Wendell Giacomo trade blows. Credits to: BellatorMMA
Paul Daley and Wendell Giacomo trade blows. Credits to: BellatorMMA

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