Former Bellator featherweight champion Daniel Straus looks to bounce back from losing his belt in April with a win against Emannuel Sanchez on October 6 at Bellator 184.
Ahead of that fight, his second of the year, Straus, 25-7, took the time to answer the questions of Fighters Only contributor Tony Reid.
Q: You won the Bellator featherweight title in 2013 with a huge victory over Pat Curran. What can you recall about that fight?
DS: The game plan was to get in his face and pressure him. A lot of the guys he has fought cower to his power and cower to his defense. I knew if I could stay in his face and frustrate him I could start implementing my takedowns and my punches. The first round I just wanted to jump in there and get to it. I tried to stay calm. I felt like I won the first round. The second round I thought I lost. I thought it was close but I thought I lost it. The third round I was pumped. I was still ready to go; ready to fight. I took the big knee, I bounced back from that and I really just wanted to take it to him. I knew it wasn’t intentional but I still wanted to get after it. The fourth and fifth rounds I just came out and tried to do my thing: keep in his face, keep punching. At one point I caught him and tried to finish but Pat is really good at covering up and throwing a big shot. I was trying to get him out of there but I couldn’t get any shots through. I took it to the ground and finished it there. I got the win!
Q: Tim Sylvia used to wear his UFC championship belt everywhere he went and Ben Askren kept his Bellator belt in a James Bond-style suitcase. Where did you keep the belt?
DS: The belt was in the house. It was in the trunk of my car for a while. Wherever I went, it went with me. I would go to the store or the bank and people would ask if they could see the belt and I was like, “Yep. It’s right outside.” It was amazing to have that belt and I can’t say enough about my teammates, my friends and my family and everyone for pushing me and helping me.
Q: If you could choose one fight from your career that every MMA fan should see, which fight would you choose and why?
DS: When I fought Nazareno Malegariehe, a jiu-jitsu black belt, he was 19-0. The first round he had my back, and the second and third rounds we beat the dog shit out of each other. It was an awesome fight. That is the heart I bring inside the cage. And I won that fight! That is a fight I want people to know me for. A fight like Karen Darabedyan… the same deal. I separated my shoulder on a Monday and I get a call Wednesday to ask me if I wanted to fight Karen. On Saturday, I was in the cage fighting him. That’s the heart I bring. That’s the mentality I bring. Those are the fights I want people to see.
Q: If you could fight anyone in any weight class, who would you choose and why?
DS: That’s a good question. I really don’t know. My mentality is that you bring me a contract, I sign on that dotted line, and I wait for that night to come. I don’t care who it is, I’m just going to go out there and fight them.
Q: If you weren’t a professional mixed martial artist, what would you be doing for a living?
DS: This is my calling. This is my career. I’m really blessed to be in this position. I’m blessed to be talented and to be one of the best fighters in the world. I try not to think backwards because that can only lead to where I will end up. The only thing I think about is the next belt I’m going to win.