THERE is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide when you’re a mixed martial artist.

And there is certainly no easing your way back into action after time away from the most brutal of sporting arenas.

In a world where coming second sees no silver medals dished out the main consolation prize would be coming through a match relatively unscathed.

So one would be forgiven for thinking Farnworth fighter Saul Rogers has reservations about entering his first match in more than two years. But the lightweight division’s rising star says – having rarely eased up in his training regime – he is itching to get back in the cage.

Formerly going by the name Tha Hangman, due to his propensity for applying devastating choke holds, Rogers now fights under the moniker ‘It’s Saul Business’ and he cannot wait to face Aiden Lee in Birmingham in tomorrow night’s Bellator event, his first for the promotion.

“It’s been two years since I last fought but I’ve not stopped training and I’ve kept myself in good nick,” he told The Bolton News. “I totally can’t wait to get going. I’ve had three fight camps in the past where I’ve gone through all the preparation work and had my opponents pull out in the last week.

“I’m in unreal shape right now, I never let myself get out of shape, it’s something I pride myself on so I’m not bothered about waiting between fights. I’ve fought with a year having passed between matches – to me, there’s no such thing as ring rust, that’s just another word for nerves.

“I’ve had a fractured elbow, a fractured wrist and had issues with bone fragments but I’m healed and I’m feeling great.

“I know my skills, I know what I’m about and, having trained with the best in the business, I don’t have any worries going into this fight.”

Rogers goes into tomorrow’s fight against Lee with a 12-2 record as a professional, though he says he has a few more wins abroad under his belt.

Having just returned from a stint honing his skills in the USA, he feels he has developed his all-round game to the point where he simply cannot lose, despite fighting in Lee's back yard.

And, while he does not under-estimate his opponent’s abilities – Birmingham-based Lee has seven wins and three defeats, the latest in his most recent outing in December – the single-minded Rogers is in no doubt he will be at peak performance and will take care of business – It’s Saul Business, after all.

“I’ve travelled the world going up against some of the best fighters to improve myself,” he said.

“I’ve been living in the gym, really. I’ve been training with some of the best guys there are. When you’re up against people like [UFC star] Michael Johnson you don’t get any better fighters to train with and sharpen you up.

“Aiden is a far-ranging southpaw, I know what he’ll try to do, he’ll want to keep me away from him by using his jab and then get me to the ground.

“He’s good, he’s very tough and he’s trying to make a name for himself but I’ve got so much belief in my skills.

“He’s no beginner but I’ve been up against some of the best grapplers in the world.

“I’ve worked with professional boxers to improve my striking, which is one area I think I may have been lacking.

“I’ve got strong hands and I’m the better wrestler of the two of us, I’m just going to have too much for him.

“I can beat him up, I can wrestle with him and beat him that way, I can just pound him if he wants the fight to go that way. I believe in my skill set, and I know I’ve just got too much for him.

“He should be nervous fighting me, I hope he fixates on me having been out of the game for a while, that will be his downfall if so.

“I’m going to make a statement. I’ve got another show in London in June and my aim is to have a title belt wrapped round my waist in 2020, I won’t be happy if I don’t.

“The 12-2 record is a bit deceiving, I have had four fights in the USA, all wins, so it’s really 16-2. Add in 10 or so amateur fights around the UK, America and Japan and I’ve got plenty of experience.

“Fighting is what I do and I want to be a success, I have not got into a fight where I’m taking lots of hits on the chin early on so I’m really confident going into this one. I want to beat him because it’s Saul Business.”

The headline match of the 19-match Bellator Birmingham event, Brent Primus v Tim Wilde, will be shown live on Channel 5 tomorrow night from 10pm.