After building up a lot of momentum with four wins in four fights in 2012, undefeated 135-pound prospect Billy Daniels was looking to keep things going last year, but was unfortunately derailed after his first fight in April.
As Daniels explained to MMAWeekly.com, “I had some minor knee surgery last year.
“I had some scar tissue cleaned out of my knee, so it kept me on the sidelines for a little while, so it was a pretty boring year.”
Even though he’s disappointed he was on the shelf much of 2013, Daniels was able to use his time off productively.
“I think it was good and bad,” he said. “It was good to give my body a break, but at the same time, it felt like I could go in the gym and work out, but was laid up for a couple weeks after the surgery.
“I got the time to learn some new stuff and work on things that needed working on and I think I’m 10 times better. I think I’m a completely different fighter. My stand-up, wrestling and jiu-jitsu have come a long way, and I feel I’m in the best shape of my life, especially going down to 135 pounds now.”
“I’m stoked to fight for the RFA and get a chance to fight for a belt,” said Daniels. “I thought they’d want to build my name up a little bit and not put me right in the title picture, but it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.”
When it comes to facing Munhoz, Daniels knows he’ll have to avoid the ground and use his size to bully his opponent to where he wants the match to be.
“I feel like my size is going to come into play,” said Daniels. “I’m a little bit bigger and taller. I normally fight at 145 pounds and I’m going down to 135 pounds, so I’ll be a little bit bigger.
“Obviously he’s got great jiu-jitsu and wrestling, I’ve seen him take good guys down, but I feel like I’ve got good counter-wrestling to keep it on the feet. If it does go to the ground, my defensive jiu-jitsu and defensive wrestling is enough to get it back on the feet where I want to be and finish the fight.”
For Daniels, not only is the chance to claim a title on a nationally broadcasted show a big boost for his career, the exposure is also key if he hopes to continue to move up the ranks of bigger stages.
“It absolutely matters what happens in this fight,” he said. “If I win, that’s great, and hopefully I get my name out there and catch the eyes of people. If I lose, it sets me back a lot.
“I’ve come too far to lose and take three or four steps back, that’s definitely not what I want to do. I want to win this fight and then keep taking big fights and keep winning until I can move on the next level.”