Olympic wrestler Joe Warren was one of the top newcomers to MMA  in 2009.  The former Michigan Wolverine defeated two former champions in his debut and follow-up fights: former WEC bantamweight champion and Lombard native Chase Beebe and former K1 HERO’S Middleweight Grand Prix Champion Kid Yamamoto.  Warren is the latest acquisition among an impressive list of new signees for Chicago/Los Angeles based Bellator Fighting Championships.

joe warren

He joins downstate product Dan Hornbuckle and Bao Quach as some of the promotion’s big offseason signings.  Warren will be part of Bellator’s eight-man Season 2 featherweight tournament which includes Quach, Georgi Karakhanyan, William Romero and Patricio “Pitbull” Freire.

“We are very excited about this signing and being the MMA organization that brought Joe back to the states,” said Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Joe has the ability, drive, confidence and personality to become a star in our sport. His first two wins would make a good career for most fighters and as his stand-up continues developing, the sky is the limit for Joe Warren.”

Warren, who is a member of Team Quest, said he is focused now on continuing to hone his stand-up game.  “My hands are getting quicker, I’m seeing the openings quicker … I’m just getting better every single day. I’m already 1,000 times better than I was in my last fight,” he said. “With my style and my experience and my never-lose, never-die attitude, it’s gonna be really exciting for Bellator and for everyone who’ll be watching on TV.”

Season 2 for Bellator begins April 8 and will air live on Thursday nights on Fox Sports Net, which is Comcast Sports Net in the Chicago market.  Bellator will also have a 30-minute highlight show which will air during the late night slot on NBC stations, which is WMAQ channel 5 locally.   A one-hour highlight show will also air on Telemundo, WSNS channel 44 locally, every Saturday night.

Warren has a tremendous upside and could develop into a top-level fighter if he continues to improve.  Just like UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture Warren’s base skills come from a world-class Greco-Roman wrestling background, as well as outstanding conditioning.  His striking and submission skills have to catch up to his wrestling, but if he puts on performances like the ones he did in Japan then 2010 could top what he did in ’09.

This is video of his MMA debut, a TKO stoppage over Chase Beebe in the opening round of DREAMS Featherweight Grand Prix Tournament.

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