As Daniel James prepares for the biggest opportunity of his fighting career, he hopes that it can only lead to bigger opportunities for him. For James, also known as “The American Predator” he’s had opportunities presented to him early on in his career that not many fighters would receiver or even consider doing, like training with a former opponent.
Shortly after his fight against Calyn Hull at LFA 50, James and Hull discussed training together and have since become teammates at the MTC gym in Schaumburg, Illinois which is home to several LFA fighters and the home gym of Daniel James. Ahead of his fight against Brett Martin, Daniel James spoke with MyMMANews.com about his decision to train with Hull ahead of this fight where they will both be on the card, his upcoming opponent, and why giving back to the community means so much to him.
After their fight in September of 2018, James said a brief conversation with Hull after their fight led to them becoming training partners, and it’s something he really appreciates and enjoys, especially since they will both be on the LFA 77 card.
“It’s been amazing, man. There’s no difference. There’s no animosity or anything like that, I’m not a s**t talker or anything like that. After the fight we just started talking and we said at the after-party that we should train together. Once we did that, we developed a friendship and became tight. We’ve been going back-and-forth training together, Calyn has been a big help. It’s been awesome to have two guys who fought against each other, train together.”
While the heavyweight title is on the line, James says he feels that there is a bigger opportunity waiting for him after this fight, if all goes his way on September 27.
“I take each fight at a time but after this fight, I think it’s time. I’m really focused on the UFC and you know, I’m knocking at the door. I’m not the guy who is going to go on social media and ask Dana White to look at my fights, if he sees it he sees it. If Dana and Mick [Maynard] see my fights, I’ll leave it in the hands of my management and coaches to see what happens after this, but there’s no other thing that could happen after this but the UFC.”
With the LFA heavyweight title up for grabs and a possible opportunity to further his career on a bigger platform, Daniel James keeps his focus on giving back to the community of Chicago and his family.
“The sport of MMA for most people might be about fighting and getting the ladies or getting popularity or getting all those other things, my thing is, it’s not about that for me. I took the responsibility to put my city on my back. A lot of people know I’m from Chicago and I want to represent in a different way. Sometimes it could just be riding through the city and talking to someone or going to a park and seeing the a youth program so the kids can see you. I tell people all the time, I’m Daniel James before I’m ‘The American Predator.’
I take all of that to the cage with me, to let Chicago know, I’ll fight for you, we don’t need to be fighting each other. I feel everybody deserves to shine. My thing is, I take the responsibility of Chicago to hopefully use this platform to inspire many, many more. Getting to the UFC, that’s a bigger platform. I could use the UFC to save Chicago a lot more. Getting more kids into martial arts, that gives better discipline for these kids in life.”
Daniel James has the biggest opportunity of his career to become the LFA heavyweight champion and hopefully see that title lead him to a bigger stage with the UFC, and while many fighters that would be achieving their dreams, James is just getting started with his dreams. Being a successful fighter is important, but giving back to the city of Chicago and providing for his family, that’s why Daniel James is looking to fight on the biggest stages in his career.
Listen to the full interview with Daniel James below: