Los Angeles, CA — Raymond Daniels was suddenly in demand after a 720 degree knockout blow landed in his Bellator MMA career last May. The highlight reel finish at Bellator Birmingham got fans out of their seats, but if you get to know Daniels, you realize he’s not worried about highlights.
Instead, the kickboxing champ return to the MMA realm for other reasons, he told Cageside Press this week. “It’s about continued growth, setting new goals for yourself,” he said. “I got the opportunity from Mike Hogan and Scott Coker to come over and perform over in Europe with the new European league that they are doing over there, and to just continue growth as a person, as a fighter, to continue to challenge myself to see how good or how great you can be at something.”
Daniels is a second generation martial artist, by way of his father, Frank Daniels, he explained. “I started martial arts back, I usually say around 5 years old, because that’s when I first remember it. So I’ve kind of been kicking since I was knee high and just been doing it ever since.” No wonder he’s more focused on growth than highlights.
Of course, being that young “I didn’t know that it was something that I would end up loving. At first it was something I did because my parents told me to do it and it seemed cool. Then I started competing and traveling and I developed a love for it, then people started telling me that I was really good at it then I started taking it to the professional level with tournaments and then with the full contact side of it.”
Daniels did consider other careers at times. “When I was in my 20s I was actually a police officer in the city of Long Beach in LA County, so I did that for 7 or 8 years. I still had my Martial Arts school because, I just enjoy doing that. Martial arts is something that I love.”
If you don’t know Daniels just yet, you probably know some of the names he defeated in teh kickboxing realm: Michael ‘Venom’ Page and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson.
Daniels is appreciative for the opportunity to prepare for fighters of that caliber. “The whole Stephen Thompson thing too, Steve I don’t consider that a win against you I know you got hurt during that fight, I’d just like to throw that out there,” he added as an aside. “But the preparation for a Stephen Thompson and a Mike Page just shows me that I’m capable of competing at such a high level.”
“I love to see competitors like Mike and like Stephen Thompson that have taken what it is that I do, and what it is that we do and put it on a global stage and such a global platform. And become the best of the best at what they’re doing,” he added.
Daniels left us with a message for the fans: “Some of you guys might not know who I am, again I’m Raymond Daniels. I know you guys saw the Conor [McGregor] fight maybe last weekend. I know you guys will see this fight. I promise you that you make it in time to see me and I will put on a show and give you guys something that will keep you on the edge of your seats and give a whole new introduction to what mixed martial arts is.”
Bellator 238 takes place Saturday, January 25 at The Forum in Los Angeles, CA.