Darrion Caldwell will be looking for the biggest win of his career when he takes on former Bellator bantamweight champ Joe Warren Friday night in Bellator 151’s main event bout.
“I am mentally ready,” Caldwell told FO’s Tony Reid. “There is nothing I haven’t done in preparation leading up to this fight. I am ready to go in there and tear it up.”
Though he may be far from achieving the same level of notoriety as some of Bellator’s hottest prospects, such as undefeated Brit Michael page, Bellator commentator Jimmy Smith recently called Caldwell “the best kept secret at 135lb.”
“I think any time Jimmy Smith is calling you the best kept secret it has to be true,” Darrion said in response to Smith’s comments. “He is a guy that has been around the sport so long, he has covered so many fights and fighters that he really knows what he is talking about. This weekend I am going out there to prove him right. I am on the scene now. It’s no longer a secret.”
Bellator’s last event, Bellator 150, was originally scheduled to host a main event fight between the man who beat Warren for the Bellator bantamweight title, Marcos Galvao, and Eduardo Dantas but was cancelled after Galvao pulled out the day before the fight.
As one of the division’s top contenders, Darrion wasn’t a happy man when he found out about the situation.
“I got a text from a buddy.I read the text and thought ,’What?’ It kinda pissed me off. I was working out. I was just finishing up training. I was in the sauna when I got the message. The Galvao-Dantas fight is a fight I wanted to watch. I had my eye on potentially seeing one of those two guys next, if everything goes right.”
So is Caldwell still anticipating a title shot next with a win over Warren on Friday night, with the current Bellator 135lb title picture looking so uncertain?
“Right now it’s up to Bellator and my management team. After this weekend it’s up to those guys to figure out where my future is and I’m sure Bellator has their eye on me for a potential title fight. We are going to sit back and wait for the opportunity to present itself though.”
“I would assume that a win over Joe would give me the number one contender spot,” he continued. “It’s up to my management and Bellator to figure that out on the back end. I just have to do my job and show up and win this fight.”
Although he is willing to admit the tough challenge a veteran like Warren will likely pose in their fight, Caldwell is expecting to be dominant throughout on the night of the fight.
“I think Warren poses a threat, not only in the standup but definitely in the wrestling aspect,” he said. “He is good everywhere. He is strong, he is tough, he has good endurance. Wherever the fight goes I expect this fight to be tough for me. I am here to overcome adversity. That is something I have done my entire life.
“I don’t think there is going to be a point in this fight where I’m not in a dominant position.”
Though his attention is currently focused on the 135lb division, Darrion shares something in common with UFC divison-hopping superstar Conor McGregor, in that he too has plans to move up in weight to conquer new territory in the future.
When the Irishman’s name was mentioned, the undefeated Caldwell was certain that he would be meeting the man inside the cage one day.
“I think that fight has to happen. With the way I am going and with my record, with the way Bellator is going I think a superfight with me and Conor is bound to happen down the road. I am looking forward to going up in weight classes eventually and taking over that division as well. I think the potential fight with Conor is there. I think I have the ability to beat him. He definitely talks a lot of s**t. I am ready to shut him up.”
Bellator 151 takes place Friday March 4th at the Winstar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma.