Never one to turn down an opportunity to scrap, Johnny "Cupcakes" Campbell (20-13) is stepping up once again on short notice against a beast. Campbell got the call from Bellator to step in and take on Henry Corrales (18-5) on 3 weeks notice, as Keith Lee was forced to pull out of the Bellator 258 bout due to undisclosed reasons.
This will be a lofty task for Campbell. Corrales, who normally fights at 145 pounds, will be making his debut at bantamweight (135) for this contest, and when you start pealing back the Corrales onion, you quickly realize that he has fought some of the toughest competition at 145 under the Bellator banner. Aaron Pico (7-3), Patricio Pitbull (32-4), Daniel Straus (26-9), Emmanuel Sanchez (20-5), and Juan Archuleta (25-2) are just handful of the opponents that Corrales has fought during his 11 fight Bellator career. Without a doubt one of the toughest schedules at Bellator's featherweight division.
Campbell is coming off one of the more gruesome losses in MMA history when his ear was nearly severed off his head after taking a punch from Ary Farias (10-2) at Taura MMA 10 down in Brazil - a fight he took on a weeks notice. Almost losing his ear hasn't deterred Campbell from stepping up and taking on another stud on one of the biggest stages in the MMA world. He's a gamer; always has been, and we've come to expect that "Cupcakes" will leave it all in the cage no matter who's standing across from him.
I was able to catch up with Johnny and get some of his thoughts on this bout. And there is another thing that we've all become accustomed to; "Cupcakes" is never short on words, and can talk with the best of them. When asked about if there was any hesitation taking this fight, Campbell said:
"Zero hesitation. I want world class opponents because I'm a world class athlete. Henry Corrales is coming down to my weight and coming into my backyard. I'm goddamn royalty down at Mohegan Sun."
Obviously Campbell is highly confident in his chance to deliver on May 7th. Corrales doesn't scare him, and he's looking at this as a huge opportunity to impress the brass at Bellator MMA, a promotion that he has never had the opportunity to fight for over the course of his 33 fight pro career. "Cupcakes" is looking to capitalize on this massive opportunity and possibly create a permanent home with one of the largest MMA promotions in the world.
"After May 7th I'll be one of Bellators main attractions. Bellator made a smart move setting this fight up and I intend on cashing in on the opportunity."
Campbell was on a big 4 fight win streak before the "ear incident", and he's looking to show that his last fight was a fluke, and winning is just something that "Cupcakes" does. Prior to his bout back in October at Taura MMA 10, Campbell had beaten some serious names here on the regional scene. Jose Lugo (4-2), Kris Moutinho (8-4), Bruno Dias (19-11), and Jeff Perez (5-2) were all stopped by Campbell before the final bell. This run vaulted him to our #2 ranked bantamweight in New England, and with his sights set on the national stage, Campbell is confident he'll find success against Corrales come May 7th at Mohegan Sun Arena.
"I'll have heat-seeking focus on this man's jaw and if it goes all 3 rounds I'll be looking to remove his cranium from his shoulders the entirety of the fight. I'll prove once again why I'm this regions most exciting fighter and why people can't get enough Cupcakes!"
There's no doubt that this will be the toughest test of Johnny Campbell's long MMA Career, but he's not short on words or confidence as he approaches the biggest opportunity he has had yet to date.