Daniel Straus wasn’t entirely thrilled with his performance at Bellator 219, despite overcoming long odds even making it back to the cage following a life-threatening motorcycle crash. But with the win behind him, he’s ready for who’s next: “all of ’em.”
Temecula, CA — The feel-good story of Bellator 219 was no doubt the return of Daniel Straus. Win or lose, just stepping back inside the Bellator cage was a victory. Straus had been out over a year due to a serious motorcycle accident. The fighter had been left unable to walk, endured months and months of physical therapy, and was at real risk of never fighting again.
So stepping in the cage against Shane Kruchten on Friday at the Pechanga Casino and Resort was a win in itself. The icing on the cake was that yes, Straus won his first bout since 2017.
“It’s unique. It’s different. It’s special,” he told reporters including Cageside Press about the win. “Special for me, special for my team, special for everybody that’s helped me get here. It’s been a road. I’m thankful, grateful.”
Consistently leading up to Bellator 219, Straus, a former featherweight champion in the promotion, said that he was coming in at about 70% of his former self. His recovery was not complete. But he simply couldn’t put his return off any longer.
He reiterated that post-fight Friday, saying “I still got a whole lot of work to do. I’m not 100%. I’ve been telling you this for a while. Just because I’m here doesn’t mean I’m at the top of the game. I feel good, I get to continue to grow, continue to showcase my skills, and get back to what I want to do.”
Still, step one complete. The nerves were there, of course. “It’s been a little different. I’ve always had nerves, I’ve always had ups and downs,” he said. “I knew it was going to be emotional. Kind of tried to throw it in the back of my mind, walked in there, and just get to what we got to do. We can cry, scream, yell all afterwards. That’s what I’m going to do afterwards.”
As for his performance, despite what many would see as a huge feat, Straus admitted that “I wasn’t happy. Not at all.”
“You can win, but it doesn’t make it a great win,” he added. “There was a lot of things I wanted to clean up. There’s a lot of things I see now that I can improve on.”
“That’s just me being hard on myself, somebody else can say I did alright or whatever, but I feel like it could be done a lot better,” he pointed out.
In any case, the plan from here is to just continue. “I continue to fight. If they call me tomorrow, let’s fight. I’ve always been that person. Lightweight, featherweight, middleweight, whatever. Bantam, whatever. I’ve always been that person. Put the contract in front of me, I sign it, I fight.” The process, he said, is block by block. “Like my coach says, we got to get 1% better every day. Every day. That’s all I’m going to continue doing.”
When the weight class question was brought up again, Straus stated that he has “a long-standing history with some of the guys at featherweight. That’s definitely where I feel like I belong, and I’ve always belonged.” But having said that, he started out at lightweight, “so it’s not something I’m not familiar with.”
Who does he want to fight? Well that’s simple. “All of ’em.” With the goal of reclaiming his title by the end of 2019.
Watch the full Bellator 219 post-fight press scrum with Daniel Straus above.