Bellator 238: A chat with Raymond Daniels

It’s safe to say 2019 was a good year for Raymond Daniels: the 39-year old Bellator Kickboxing Welterweight champion married the love of his life Shelby Northcutt and set social media on fire with his 720 spinning overhand right KO against Wilker Barros at Bellator Birmingham in May.

After accomplishing so much in 2019, I asked the champion about his goals for 2020, his preparation for his upcoming fight with Jason King at Bellator 238 this month, and a potential super fight between himself and Michael “Venom” Page.

Daniels’ has a well earned reputation as one of the most feared strikers and it’s clear to see why, just put his name in YouTube and thousands of results pop up, all of them being videos of Daniels KO’ing opponents with the slickest and sickest knockout’s imaginable. With this in mind I asked the “Real Deal” if he thinks opponents are underestimating his ability when the fight goes to the mat if they think that is the only way to beat him “I’ve been working on my jits in camp with some really top guys, guys like Ryan Hall.

“I think my mat abilities are somewhat underestimated by opponents, but I can see why they maybe don’t want to stand up with me, I’m a Bellator Kickboxing champion and they have seen what I can do, it seems logical that they see the key to victory as getting me to the floor, but people are going to be shocked at what they see if that happens this time out.”

When quizzed about how he preps for a fight and if it is a more outward looking or inward-looking approach he takes, Daniels shows his experience of fighting at the top level: “Yeah, I always choose to look more inwardly when preparing for a fight.

The way I look at it is, is that I can look at what my opponent does, but I can’t control him from not doing that. But if I look at my own game I can see where improvements and changes to be made, and that’s always been the best approach for me really.”

One thing really notable about the camp Daniel’s trains with is just who he has around him, Mark Munoz leads his preparation, he’s brought in some top level grapplers to help on the weakest side of his game, guys like Ryan Hall, and then he has his family; his wife Colbey and her brother Sage Northcutt, and when asked about training with his family it’s easy to see how much it means to Daniels: “Yeah my wife Colbey is amazing.

“She helps out with everything. She keeps an eye on my diet and makes sure I’m not eating stuff like I shouldn’t be” There’s a sort of laugh in Raymond’s voice at this, he knows this is no small feat, especially when his fondness of Reece’s Pieces is so well known.

“She also makes sure I’m not overtraining and looks after me, she’s had to call me for dinner and make sure I don’t stay in the gym too long a few times.

“Sage is also a big help, he can’t do much at the minute, but he came down a couple days ago and helped with a few things. It’s great to have family around in this sport, especially when we all compete at this sort of level and know how tough training is.”

After his last fight at Bellator Birmingham, Raymond gave a slight idea as to how he is able to finish fights with his incredible style of knockouts, telling the press that he drills techniques with his coaches during camp, and if the opportunity presents itself for him to land of those shot’s he takes it:

“I do drill those techniques, but it’s all about risk and reward, for some fighters a jab and a cross can be a risky technique f they are not used to throwing them, but I have been practicing these techniques for years.

“I only ever throw them if the opportunity is there as well, I don’t force the issue.

“For this camp, if anyone knows Street Fighter you’ll get the reference, I’ve been working on something similar to a Tiger Uppercut, but the opportunity has to be there.”

Now, Daniel’s isn’t the only fighter setting the world alight with highlight reel KO’s in the Bellator Welterweight division, there is another man reaching mass popularity through fantastic KO’s as well, Michael “Venom” Page, and with two men both KO’ing opponents for fun, it’s inevitable for fans to start clambering to see them fight: “Now, I can see why people want to see this, there’s a lot of people saying we have similar styles but I don’t really see it myself, there’s definitely similarities but I believe there’s more differences.

“But me and Michael have fought many times before, we have a healthy respect for each other and we are friends, I think it’s going to take something big for us to fight.

“He’s either going to have to want take something off me or I’m really going to want to take something off him.

“The only thing I really want is that belt, it’ll take him to be holding it and me to want it for that fight to happen, just because we are friends and we do have really healthy respect for each other.”

With that in mind, it look’s very clear that Raymond’s goal for 2020 is to get closer to the welterweight title and to clock up some more insane knockout’s on the road there.

Article written by Kieran Cobley – Newsome MMA

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