But for Dalby, the promotion has been more to him over the years than just a place to fight.
“Cage Warriors has meant a lot,” he said. “It’s kind of like my home away from home in fighting. I’ve grown to know a lot of the crew and the fighters there, so it really feels like a nice safe place to be and an amazing promotion that’s really helped me in my career, so I couldn’t be more happy to fight for them again.”
And having another shiny belt doesn’t hurt either.
“I don’t mind that at all,” he laughs, and it’s good to hear Dalby in good spirits considering all he’s been through over the last few years. Dealing with depression and a battle with alcohol, Dalby hit rock bottom after two losses that got him cut from the UFC in 2016. But after more than a year and a half away from the sport, Dalby returned in 2018 and he’s since won three of his last four bouts, including three straight finishing wins that have led him to the bout against Houston.
He’s a new man, in and out of the cage.
“I think the secret is that I got my head in the right place,” Dalby said. “When I got signed to the UFC the last time around, I was already on a spiral. And I was lucky / unlucky that my professional career was kicking up when I was getting worse. So for a while I made it work, but as my mental health deteriorated, it was difficult to keep it up in the cage as well because it’s a very demanding sport, physically, and mentally as well. So now that I’ve got my head in the right space, that’s why you’re seeing what I can really do.”