A More Humble Raymond Daniels Returns To MMA

Fighting in mixed martial arts for the first time in a decade, Raymond Daniels was handed a curveball prior to Saturday May 4th’s Bellator Birmingham.

Daniels, who has only one MMA fight under his belt (A loss to Jeremiah Metcalf for Strikeforce in 2008), was set to face Jon Durrant at the Resorts World Arena in Birmingham England.

Instead, Daniels, the current Bellator Kickboxing welterweight champion, will face replacement opponent Wilker Barros on the card airing on the Bellator app and on Channel 5 in the United Kingdom.

“It did change some of my training because Durrant was a southpaw,” Daniels told MMA Mania prior to fight night. “Most of our sparring partners had been southpaw at the time. So then mid-training camp I had to switch it up to fighting some orthodox fighters. That changed it a little bit but nothing too major. I’m still working on some of the same things with my wrestling and jiu-jitsu coaches and my stand up coach as well. For me one of the best things to know is what stance my opponent fights in — besides that it doesn’t make a difference. Everybody has two hands and two feet at the end of the day.”

“I think a lot of times styles make matches, you know what I mean? Like if you put a wrestler versus a wrestler, or a jiu-jitsu guy versus a jiu-jitsu guy. If you look at some of the most entertaining fighters that there have been in the history of MMA, they’ve been stand-up fighters. There’s been a lot of great wrestlers and grapplers but some of the ones that are some of the favorites have been the stand-up (fighters). It’s just a good opportunity to get your feet wet in the MMA world for myself, and fighting somebody from a similar background, as opposed to a division one wrestler or something.”

“It’s fun being older to tell you the truth — you have the ability to reflect,” Daniels said of his 59 second loss to Metcalf.” I was young, I was an undefeated fighter, I was an undefeated striker, an undefeated martial artist. I remember someone asking me, ‘Have you trained in wrestling or jiu-jitsu?’ I was like, ‘Oh no. Why do I need to train in wrestling or jiu-jitsu when I’m knocking everybody out? Nobody’s gonna be able to take me down, I’ll just punch ‘em and kick ‘em and call it a day.’ As you know the results of that fight, the first move, I throw the first punch and I’m getting taken down like, ‘What are you doing?’ and then I couldn’t get back up.”

“I think when fighters are undefeated it hits them really hard when they have that first loss, their first defeat or first setback. I think it’s a true test to their character and how good or great they’re going to be in the future. It was a very humbling, eye-opening experience for me and honestly I wouldn’t change it. I think it lit a fire under me to make me hungrier for things. Everybody has that one thing that maybe say something happened that didn’t go your way that you would love to change. That’s what I love about this opportunity (on Saturday). It’s giving me that opportunity to go back and fix the mistakes that I made earlier in life, being older and more mature, and now going into it I have a whole different mindset and respect for jiu-jitsu, for wrestling, for all of it.”

For the full card of Bellator Birmingham, look below.

Bellator Birmingham Main Card (5 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Brent Primus (8-1) vs. Tim Wilde (12-3)
155 lbs.: Pedro Carvalho (9-3) vs. Derek Campos (19-8)
185 lbs.: Fabian Edwards (6-0) vs. Falco Neto Lopes (11-9)
170 lbs.: Raymond Daniels (0-1) vs. Wilker Barros (0-0)

Bellator Birmingham Undercard (2:30 p.m. ET):
145 lbs.: Saul Rogers (12-2) vs. Aiden Lee (7-3)
135 lbs.: Brian Moore (11-7) vs. Binh Son Le (5-2)
205 lbs.: James Mulheron (11-3) vs. Lee Chadwick (24-14-1)
170 lbs.: Jim Wallhead (30-11) vs. Giorgio Pietrini (16-4-1)
145 lbs.: Dominique Wooding (5-2) vs. David Khalsa (2-3)
170 lbs.: Craig Turner (6-0-1) vs. Ashley Reece (7-1)
155 lbs.: Kane Mousah (11-2) vs. Mateusz Piskorz (13-4)
155 lbs.: Akonne Wanliss (1-1) vs. Sam Slater (2-1)
155 lbs.: Dan Cassell (2-3-1) vs. John Nicholls (4-2)
155 lbs.: Mohammed Yahya (5-1) vs. Gavin Hughes (9-1)
205 lbs.: Yannick Bahati (8-4, 1 NC) vs. Adis Dadovic (8-1)
170 lbs.: Nicolo Solli (1-0) vs. Simon Ridgeway (0-0)
135 lbs.: Lee Percival (0-1) vs. Raphael Uchegbu (0-0)
155 lbs.: Kieran Lister (4-0) vs. Constantin Gnusariev (1-0)



Report: MMA Mania

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