Since joining Bellator in 2014, featherweight Daniel Weichel has incrementally taken the right steps forward to becoming a title contender.
First Weichel won the Season 10 featherweight tournament last year. Then Weichel solidified his standing by winning a split-decision over former titleholder Pat Curran this past February.
“It was a very important fight for me, especially fighting a former champion,” Weichel told MMAWeekly.com. “It showed how much I could improve since the tournament. It showed me that I’m doing the right thing and am working with the right team and coaches.”
Weichel feels that for the most part he did what he should have done to win the fight, and is a bit surprised that it ended up being so close in the judges’ eyes.
“When I re-watch that fight, I feel that I could have been more aggressive in specific situations,” said Weichel. “I could feel that I was hesitating at some moments. These are just little things that I would do different if we were to fight again.
“I felt like I won the first round and third round clearly. I knew the second round was close, but I was sure that I won the fight, so I was a little bit shocked when they called a split decision.”
With the tournament crown and win over Curran in toe, Weichel (35-8) turns his sights towards winning the featherweight title from Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (23-2) at Bellator 138: Kimbo vs. Shamrock on Friday in St. Louis.
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“I’m very excited to be in a championship fight with Patricio,” said Weichel. “The main factor for me to win is almost the same as the last fight: I have to keep my focus, stay concentrated, and do what my corner says to do.
“We’ve been working for this fight for about six, seven weeks, and I’m feeling very confident with my game plan. So I just have to stick to it and do my thing. If I do that, I will go home with the belt.”
While winning a title is very important to Weichel, right now all he has on his mind is the fight with Pitbull.
“It definitely motivates me, but I see more the fight itself,” said Weichel. “I see Patricio as an opponent and one of the best featherweights in the world and I just want to beat him and climb up the ladder.
“I’m definitely planning on being the champion for a long time, but for right now I just have this fight on my mind and nothing else.”