Raphael Butler: I’m focusing more on my conditioning so I can keep the high pace of my style up for longer

Raphael Butler returns to the Bellator cage tonight at Bellator 125 against Javy Ayala, and he’s looking to rebound after the first professional fight in his career that didn’t end with him as the victor.Raphael Butler

Even though Butler clearly won rounds 2 and 3 in his bout with Nick Rossborough back at Bellator 119, the bout between the two heavyweights ended in a draw because Butler had a point deducted in the first frame due to a flagrant head-butt. Months after the bout, Butler regrets that he used the illegal strike.

“I knew it was definitely a big mistake as soon as I committed the foul,” said Butler. “I made sure to go to Nick Rossborough’s locker room after the fight to apologize to him face to face, and to tell him that it wasn’t personal and just a reaction.”

Known for his boxing, Butler had some issues on the feet during that first round, but he did showcase some new wrinkles with his grappling game.

“That was the first time being rocked in an MMA fight and that’s different in boxing, because in boxing there’s no one trying to jump on you and choke you out,” said Butler. “The positives I took away from that fight is that my wrestling and grappling has come leaps and bounds since I first started.”

Heading into his fight Ayala, Butler has worked on his conditioned and hone his striking.

“I’m focusing more on my conditioning so I can keep the high pace of my style up for longer,” said Butler. “I’m also focusing on my boxing – we were so confident in my boxing before the last fight that we didn’t focus on it at all, and it showed in my last fight.”

As far as his opponent is concerned, Raphael Butler has his expectations set for the way Javy Ayala will fight.

“As of right now, I expect him to come into the fight confident and to extend his win streak he’s on right now. I like to fight a confident guy because when you break them, they stay broken.”

Although Butler would rather his actions speak for his words, he has vast goals as a mixed martial artist, and in order for him to achieve those goals, he’ll need a win tonight.

“If I were pressured into giving my true opinion, I think I can beat anyone in the world. That’s just the way I am and the way I was raised to fight. I don’t say that often because my words aren’t going to get me there.”