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Daniel Straus enters Bellator featherweight grand prix with fresh perspective

Daniel Straus discusses his upcoming bout with Derek Campos this Saturday at Bellator 226 to kick off the 16-man Bellator featherweight grand prix.

Bellator 226 will take place at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. and will stream on DAZN. The showdown between the former champion Straus and Campos will be one of four opening round bouts to take place on Saturday night’s card and will serve as the co-main event.

Straus discusses his preparation for the bout, overcoming the injuries of a horrific motorcycle accident to continue his MMA career, his triumphant return to the Bellator cage picking up a first-round submission over Shane Krutchen at March’s Bellator 219 event, why he believes his fight with Campos could be “the most exciting fight of the tournament”, how he sees the fight with Campos playing out, whether he’d prefer to fight for the Bellator featherweight title early in the tournament or in the finals and much more.

With all of the perseverance Straus has shown to get back into the cage when his doctors believed he would never fight again following the accident two years ago, the 35-year-old has a newfound focus and perspective on the sport. Daniel Straus aims to show he is much different fighter than you saw when he lost to Emmanuel Sanchez at Bellator 184.

“Well, I’ve grown a little more gray hair,” Straus told MyMMANews.com. “Outside of that, I’ve just worked really hard on knowing myself, understanding myself. I’ve always been one to please everyone else. From the time that I fought Emmanuel Sanchez to now, there’s been a big difference in my mindset going into these fights, what I need to get done, and pursuing the dreams that I need to pursue. This is very much a team sport as much as it is an individual sport and I’ve had a lot of people backing me, and a lot of people pushing me. It’s been great. But going into these fights, I’m not concerned or worried about anyone else but myself.”

Straus made his organizational debut in June 2010 at Bellator 23 and, outside of a few fights from that point into 2011, has been with Bellator since that point. He has seen it all — from the growth, to the television deals, to world titles won and lost. Now with being part of a unique format such as the featherweight grand prix — the blind draw, five-round fights from the quarterfinals on, the chance to fight for the world title at any point in the tournament, etc. — Straus is excited to be a part of something fresh in his ninth year with the organization. Although, tournament or no tournament, title or no title, Straus has never been one to say no, or give a second thought to any fight presented to him.

“I love it,” Straus said of the tournament format. “Here’s the thing, since I’ve been in this company, even before I’ve been with this company — my whole career — all I’ve waited on is just that contract. This is just another part of the way I fight. I don’t care who I get, I don’t know, I’m not asking, I don’t give a f**k, I’m gonna get a contract, sign that contract and beat your ass. That’s just how I feel. The structure of this, it’s good. I like how they have it lined up. I’m excited to see what the second round is going to bring for everyone, where people are going to place their names and who they will go after, or not go after.

“The whole thing tells a story. The way it’s laid out, from start to finish, it’s all going to tell a story. I can’t wait to see it.”

Check out the full interview with Daniel Straus as he prepares to face Derek Campos this Saturday night in his featherweight grand prix opening round matchup at Bellator 226 in the video above.