Having won three consecutive contests in 2012, Karl Amoussou will fight for the Bellator welterweight world title on January 24 at the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
The Frenchman won the Bellator 77kg tournament final against Bryan Baker back in July, which earned him a main event title shot against undefeated champion Ben Askren.
UFC president Dana White once labelled former US Olympic wrestler Askren as “the most boring fighter in MMA history”, and fans and MMA writers have voiced their displeasure with his lay and pray tactics.
However, Amoussou not only guaranteed that their bout will be exciting, he also promised to do what no MMA practitioner has done before and that is to stop Askren.
Amoussou told IBTimes: “Ben Askren is either going to get knocked out or submitted. Askren – I know his style. Everybody knows his style. He’s a pure wrestler, he’s an amazing wrestler but people should also not forget that I’m a good judo guy. I will try to beat him at his own game.
“I step into the cage to fight. I’m not there to just win a fight by decision. And if I win by decision, like my semi-final in the Bellator tournament, that fight was crazy from the start to the end. It was a spectacular fight and you can expect spectacular things when you see me fight. I have a high technique level on the ground and on my feet so when you see me expect a big knockout or a big submission.”
The 27-year-old Amoussou has a record of 16 wins (four knockouts, nine submission), four losses and two draws and has fought for MMA organisations such as Dream and Strikeforce. But victory in the Bellator welterweight tournament is the biggest achievement of his career so far.
Recollecting about that triumph, Amoussou – who has been practising judo since he was three-years-old, said: “I was extremely happy. It was the biggest win of my career. The tournament was very special, even the qualifying fight. I had a fight to qualify for the tournament and I had the most pressure on in me in my whole life because I had a loss in Bellator in May 2011 [against Sam Alvey]. I destroyed the guy. I kicked him, I elbowed him I think 20 times, his face needed 22 stitches but they made me lose the fight by split decision so I was extremely disappointed.”
Amoussou continued: “After that I just had to come back and I could not do anything else but win the fight. In the tournament I think I’ve shown different skills that people were not expecting to see me with. Every win in the tournament was the biggest win of my career because every fight was extremely important and every fight was against very tough and skilled opponents.
“Of course the most important was the final because with that win I managed to earn the title shot and the next fight is the most important fight of my career again. As you can see, every fight is the most important of my career.”
Trained by his older brother Bertrand Amoussou-Guenou, who was an European Championship judo bronze medallist in 1990 and an ex-MMA competitor, Amoussou – who cites Wanderlai Silva as his favourite fighter - explained the origins of his ‘Psycho’ nickname.
“It was decided by my training partners,” he said. “They started to call me Psycho because I was always knocking people out at training. When I was sparring with guys I was way more aggressive.
“I’m a really calm guy afterwards but as soon as I step into the cage I’m an animal.”