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Long layoff ahead of UAE Warriors was blessing, not curse

Long layoff ahead of UAE Warriors was blessing, not curse


Shawn Bunch says long layoff ahead of UAE Warriors debut was a blessing, not a curse

Former Bellator veteran Shawn Bunch is starting a new chapter in his life. Not only is he signed with a brand new promotion, his first change since 2017, but he’s also a new father. It’s been almost two years since Bunch stepped into a cage to fight but he’s taking that long layoff as a good thing, and not a potential reason to worry.

“I’ve had longer time in between activities, but every time I’ve had a long layoff I’ve came back better because I’m always healthy,” Bunch said. “I’m a gym rat, I’m always in the gym. When I’m not training for a fight, I’m getting better stress-retraining, and it does help me out a lot. Before I fought Joe Warren I was coming off of a two-year layoff, and I finished him in the first round. Every time I‘ve had a year layoff, I’ve gotten a finish and I’ve always came back better.”

That bodes well for his Saturday, Sept. 4 main event bout against Rany Saadeh. It will be the first time Bunch has fought under the UAE Warriors banner and the first time fighting MMA abroad.


“It’s the same mindset from when I was wrestling,” he said. “Don’t worry about the circumstances and just compete wherever you are. I’m not stressing about the jet lag, I’ll have a few days to acclimate. So the only hurdle will be the weight cut, I’ll stay positive and relaxed and figure it all out.”

Daniel Cormier hooked Shawn Bunch up with UAE Warriors fight

The path to UAE Warriors was a unique one. Bunch says after his stint with Bellator he was training and waiting for his next move.

“[Daniel Cormier] hit me up, he knew I was going to be in the gym training and waiting for something to pop up. He contacted me and said ‘Hey, you want to fight in Abu Dhabi?’ and said that he had a contact to get me on the card, so that’s how it came about.”

Fighting in a whole new promotion means a whole new cast of fighters to get used to, and Bunch took some time to check out Saadeh ahead of their fight.

“I’ve checked him out a little bit,” he said. “He’s been in the game, well-rounded, tough and a good opponent for me. I wanted someone who I could still fight in the top level and I’m excited.”


And Bunch is confident he’s getting the win on Saturday, just isn’t as sure how.

“I see myself winning the fight. I don’t know how I’m gonna finish it, but I feel like I’m gonna finish him,” he said.