Scottish MMA has a new star in the form of Airdrie fighter Paul ‘Bearjew’ Craig. Craig, 28, won the BAMMA Light Heavyweight World Championship at BAMMA 23 in Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena on Saturday night. Hardly breaking a sweat in the process.  Fighting for the title in what was only his second outing for Europe’s top MMA promotion, Craig submitted Poland’s Marcin Lazarz via triangle choke after 3:51 seconds of the very first round, extending his perfect record to 8-0.

Craig entered the championship bout, which featured as the co-main event of the evening, with strong message for the Polish champ.

“If Marcin Lazarz isn’t scared of me, then he should be”.

A statement that may have played on the mind of 205lb champion as Craig was certain the fight was pretty much won before they even entered the cage, he said:

“I was staring at Lazarz at the weigh in and he let a little smile go at me, and right there I knew that was either fear, a lack of confidence or nerves kicking in. He turned away from me too quick. I knew I had shown my dominance and when I stepped in the cage the next day I seen that same smile, that gave me even more confidence.  I knew he was worried about my striking power and I knew he was worried about my Jiu Jitsu. Anyone who fights me should be worried about these things.”

Poland’s Lazarz had no answer to Paul and having finished 6 of his previous 7 fights within the first round the Lanarkshire man was delighted to get back to his old habits. Craig said,

“I wasn’t shocked to finish him in the first, my coaches seen massive holes in his game. I wasn’t worried about his wrestling or KO power.  The guys I train with are monsters so I knew I would be comfortable in there and that I would be able to take him down whenever I wanted.”

Paul Craig with the LHW belt

Paul Craig with the LHW belt

Whilst Paul has the tools to get the job done inside the cage, he is always quick to stress that he couldn’t do it without the help of the coaches back at Scottish Hit Squad.

 “I am just an empty vessel and my head coach Brian Gallacher is the man that brings out the best in me, he knows exactly what I need to work on at training and ensures I have the best wrestling, muay thai, boxing and jui jitsu coaches. Brian makes this all fit together. This title is not just mine – it’s my team’s. The best team in Scotland”.

Paul is keen to get back in the cage as quickly as possible and his dream would be to defend the belt in Scotland. Paul said:

“I had loads of Scottish fans there in Birmingham and when they all sang Flower of Scotland it spurred me on. I would love to fight in Glasgow, my first defence should be here in Scotland with all my friends and family there, it would be an amazing night and hopefully that is something BAMMA will consider and make happen. I’m going to defend this title and keep it for a wee while. I don’t think there is anyone out there right now that is going to take it off me”.

What makes this achievement even more remarkable is that Paul has only been training MMA for less than 4 years.

You can follow Paul on Twitter @PCraigmma

You can follow me on Twitter @heffiejr