No pressure ahead of pro debut, ‘I’m going out like big Khabib’

College wrestling bad boy Pat Downey makes his long-awaited pro debut this Friday at Bellator 284 and he’s not feeling the pressure.

Bo Nickal isn’t the only Stud College wrestler to make a splash this week. Division I All–American Downey takes on Jeff Souder at Bellator 284 in his pro MMA debut.

While some athletes may feel nervous or under some pressure before their professional debut, especially with a major promotion, Downey feels none of that. For the simple fact that he has competed in front of huge crowds for most of his life.

“There’s definitely a little bit of extra hype as opposed to a typical pro debut.”

“Hell no, I insisted on it, man. I chose this. I don’t feel pressure. On the contrary, I would feel bad if I debuted in one of these promotions. No offense to the promotions or the guys who compete for them — respect,” Downey told Cageside Press in a recent exclusive interview. “But after you’ve competed All American in Madison Square Garden in front of 20,000 people, you’ve been to 50 countries representing your country, you know, after you’ve done those things, I don’t even get excited unless I’m competing for a world team or a world title or a gold medal somewhere.”

Downey added that “It’s the ultimate rush; you know what I mean? But yeah, I don’t feel pressure because I asked for it. That’s what I expected from myself. This is the standard. This is a testament to my belief in myself.”

“And damn my praises, you know, I have to live up to them. If you look at my wrestling credentials, what do I look like? I’ve also been talking to the Khabib League, and I’ve been talking about taking a few regional shows and getting a UFC fight pass deal, and trying to get into the UFC. But at the end of the day, I also put my faith and trust in my management and my team. And I’ve said this before, where I’m at is very calculated and not a mistake by design.

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“There’s definitely a little bit of extra hype as opposed to a typical pro debut. I’ll give you that,” Downey added.

Sometimes wrestlers like to show off their boxing, but Downey doesn’t try to hide his game plan at all. He will take his opponent down and smash him.

“Oh yeah, you’re not going to see one of the best wrestlers in the world go out there and not fight. I go out like a big Khabib [Nurmagomedov]. All you cops might know what I’m about to do. Good luck stopping it mate. I’m going to take this guy down and beat the hell out of him,” Downey said. “That’s the game plan. Look at Khabib and look at a bigger guy. This is me.”

“I’m going to finish this guy off. The ref is going to pull me away from him because he’s getting away or not defending… I definitely want to finish this guy. I want to finish off all opponents. I want to be efficient. They don’t pay me per minute there. I want to get in and get out.”

If all goes well for Downey, he wants to turn around and fight in Ireland in September. “Downey is a nice Irishman and I’ve never been to Dublin. Maybe I’ll show Conor McGregor some restaurants.

Watch the rest of our interview with Pat Downey above. Bellator 284 goes down this Friday, August 12, 2022 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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