Bellator 293: Daniel James Has Seen Lots of Guys Like Marcelo Golm, “But A Lot of Guys Haven’t Seen Me”

Temecula, CA — Daniel James enters his first Bellator MMA main event this Friday night at Bellator 293, where he takes on Brazilian heavyweight Marcelo Golm.

James (14-6-1) took the long route to this match-up with a former UFC talent, making his pro debut for Bellator in 2014 — not returning until his win over Tyrell Fortune last November. Along the way, he competed for ACA and LFA, and now sits ranked #7 in the heavyweight division.

As far as any surprises with opponent Golm, himself ranked #5, “I’m not surprised by anything,” James told Cageside Press during Wednesday’s Bellator 293 media day. “I’ve seen a lot of guys that I’ve fought, like Marcelo Golm— no disrespect, I’ve seen those type of guys before. But a lot of guys haven’t seen me. I think Marcelo Golm, he’s fighting a different type of enemy at this point in life.”

When it comes to returning to the promotion that gave him his start, now in the latter part of his career, James said simply “I think everything happened according to plan. It’s not like I’m prehistoric though.”

Expanding on the subject, “The American Predator” added that “I think it played out the right way. At the beginning of my career, there was a lot of immaturity. I learned a lot throughout the process.”

“In the beginning, it was just like me wondering when the next fight was, wanting to fight for the major organizations and not understanding the learning curve. I had a lot to learn, I had a lot to take from the sport.” To James, it’s because of that that his time away from the promotion was a “good thing. Because I got a chance to develop— because I was learning as I went on. I didn’t know sh*t about MMA. When I started training, I just learned how to fight, learned to become more skillful. And then Bellator called me back, I feel like it’s the right time and right moment for everything. I feel like I’ve arrived.”

At 41, however, it’s clear James knows what he wants and when he wants it. “I understand Linton Vassell’s got the title shot after this, but two sellout shows, the company needs to understand what they’re doing. Stop waiting, just let me go to the title shot right now. No disrespect to Linton Vassell, I’ll take him on, whoever. But the thing is, my target right now is Ryan Bader and Linton Vassell, both of them in those wars.”

Watch the full Bellator 293 media day appearance by Daniel James above.