While he may have been initially unhappy with the fact that his M-1 Global lightweight title shot against Jose Figueroa at M-1 Challenge 26 on July 8 in Costa Mesa, Calif., would not be happening, German fighter Daniel Weichel does have reason to celebrate.
Having won eight of nine fights, and on a three-fight winning streak, Weichel is proving to be one of the true veteran stars in a very young 155-pound division.
“There are quite a few reasons why I have been doing well in my last fights,” Weichel told MMAWeekly.com. “Moving to lightweight has been one of the most important decisions in my career; this is definitely the weight class I want to compete in.
“But I can’t emphasize enough how lucky my team and I are to be able to train in Europe’s best facilities. MMA Spirit in Frankfurt is the place to be! (It) is on the rise and you will get to hear a lot about fighters coming out to kick some ass in the near future.”
Weichel is also excited to be fighting in the U.S. for the first time in six years.
“I’ve been there a couple of times having fought only once, which was a great experience and ever since I wanted to return,” he said. “The audience is awesome. The stage for this fight couldn’t be better – fighting live on Showtime and for M-1 Global – who are doing a great job.”
Stepping in for Figueroa is Beau Baker, who will be looking to rebound off a loss to Alexander “Tiger” Sarnavski in March.
“I think that Beau has some great wrestling skills, which I will not underestimate; I am prepared for anything no matter where the fight goes,” said Weichel. “Conditioning won’t be an issue in this fight as I’ve prepared myself for a five-round battle, and I just can’t wait to go out and take down a Division I level wrestler!”
Having nearly three times the amount of fights his opponent has, Weichel still does not want to look past Baker.
“Experience is a great thing, but it also lies in the past,” said Weichel. “I am pretty sure that Beau has done his homework and will be prepared, but that doesn’t play any role in my mind. I am going to Cali to get a win and that´s all I am thinking about.”
While his title shot may have been derailed for the time being, Weichel doesn’t believe it will be long before he will get that opportunity and make good on it.
“I would also like to thank my sponsors MMA Spirit, FightNature, ALO, Joya Sports, and my manager Niels Schlaegel,” he concluded. “Thanks a lot for supporting me through the good and bad times. If it wasn’t for the fans there wouldn’t be any sport! I will pay you back with entertaining performances for a long time to come.
“I don’t want to look too far ahead as I have my mind set on July 8, but of course I would love to get the chance to fight for the title later this year. This is my ultimate goal. I want M-1 Global’s lightweight belt and it doesn’t matter who I have to go through to get it.”