Ross Houston joins Bellator's burgeoning Scottish contingent

By Tyrone SmithBBC Scotland Sport
Ross Houston training in his own gym
Ross Houston is in line to make his Bellator debut in May or June

Ross Houston says his "life changing" move to one of the world's biggest MMA promotions can propel him to the top of the sport.

The undefeated Scot joined Bellator last month after making his name with rival organisation Cage Warriors, winning their welterweight title.

And the 29-year-old believes making the step up to Bellator will further bolster his rising reputation.

"I was getting a bit frustrated with my previous promotion," said Houston.

"With Cage Warriors, I won that title and proved I am the number one welterweight in Europe in my eyes. So it is time to join the even bigger leagues and show what I can do there.

"I feel I have the strongest mindset in the game, on the whole planet, so it doesn't matter who is in front of me on fight night, I am going to get my hand raised at the end of the bouts.

"I have shown in my previous fights, I have had fast finishes, I have been through the trenches, I am going to take some stopping and none of these welterweights at Bellator will be able to do that."

Inverness-based Houston had previously stated that winning a Cage Warriors title could be a 'golden ticket' to the UFC, the world's largest MMA company.

While that has so far failed to materialise, he insists signing for Bellator will soon have him starring on some of the sport's biggest shows.

"They are going to give me the opportunity to fight big names, which is going to fast track my status even more on the international level," he said. "Whereas if I went to the UFC, I would go right at the bottom and have to work my way back, which could be a long process. It is just a different way round of doing things.

"Bellator, and in particular their welterweight division, has some massive names. There are a lot of names people would think, if they switched over to UFC, would be champions there.

"So one of the agreements I have with Bellator was that if I sign for them, they will put me on the big shows and get me some of the elite match-ups on the whole planet. The big shows happen in the US and that is where we are looking to make our stamp."

Houston will head to New York in the coming weeks to plot his path to the top and hopes to make his Bellator debut in May or June. His timing could be perfect amid speculation they could soon stage a show in Glasgow.

"We have got a few Scots in there," he added. "We have Robert Whiteford, who was the first Scot to go to UFC, we have got Chris Bungard, Chris Duncan, Callum Murrie. There are a lot of rumours about Bellator coming to the SSE Hydro maybe later in the year, which would be absolutely massive.

"It is weird because I started this thing a decade ago, just for a bit of a laugh down my local gym, and now it is life changing. I never really got into it for financial reasons, but it has put me in a position now where this could be my full-time job, just competing, and it is opening up some really exciting opportunities."