One week before Bellator 133, Germany’s Daniel Weichel took the time to answer a few questions for us about his thoughts on global MMA, the upcoming fight against former Bellator champion Pat Curran, and the importance of self-marketing.
Stephan: In about one week, you will face the former Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran. In which part of your preparation are you?
Daniel: As you can imagine, my preparation is in the crunch mode. My stamina converges to the climax and my weight goes down towards featherweight. This Saturday, we fly to California.
Stephan: A win against Curran should bring you close to a title fight against Patricio Freire. Does this circumstances raise your tension?
Daniel: No, I don’t think so. I’m only focused on my next fight and don’t waste my concentration on scenarios, which could be. Of course, I want to win this fight just as well as each other fight.
Stephan: Despite your successes, you will probably be the underdog again. Do you have any idea why?
Daniel: To be honest, I couldn’t care less. It’s important, how my team and I estimate my skills. Added to this, I don’t know who estimates my skills like that.
Stephan: Your teammate, Stephan Pütz, is very active in Social Media and showed pictures of his stay in Thailand, where he trained at Tiger Muay Thai with Marbek Taisumov, among others. Do you prepare yourself by going to other locations, too, or is your preparation only in Frankfurt, with your team at MMA Spirit?
Daniel: First and foremost, Stephan took a vacation in Thailand, but similar to myself, he can’t handle a day without training. Because of that, he trained at Tiger Muay Thai. Our preparations proceed only at MMA Spirit and I think our success proves us right.
Stephan: In your opinion, how important is it to promote oneself? Especially in the U.S., where this part of the game is far bigger than in Europe?
Daniel: It’s clearly part of our jobs, and for me the media relations is fun. Added to this, it helps partly to take my mind off the weight cutting (especially during the fight week). The fans want to know as much as possible about their favorite fighter and I’m in close contact with my fans. I try to answer all the mails as good as possible and like the small talk with my fans, especially in the U.S.
Stephan: Recently, you said in an interview that you never wanted to fight for a special organization. If you, purely hypothetical, had to choose: would you choose an organization where you could test yourself against the best fighters of the world or an organization that pays you outstanding?
Daniel: Luckily, this question doesn’t arise, because I’m part of an organization, which pays me very well and is equipped with a very strong featherweight division.
Stephan: Back to your fight against Curran. You enter the cage with a winning streak of six fights, while Curran lost two of his last three. Do you think that this circumstance will put Curran under pressure?
Daniel: I don’t think about that. I try to focus on myself and expect the best Curran we’ve ever seen. My goal is to win this fight early and I’ll try everything to bring the W back to Frankfurt. But you can be sure, I’ll not underestimate Curran.
Stephan: Last question. You fought in Japan, Russia, a big part of Europe, and now in the U.S., apart from the size of the events, how does the audience differ in the relative countries?
Daniel: The audience in Japan is rather silent and traces what happens in the cage. The general comprehension of martial arts is very high there, I think. You never hear a “boo” there, even if the fight is on the ground and is very technical. Russia is a mix between the USA and Japan. The fans are louder and support their countrymen. Because of that, I was very happy with the support I was allowed to receive during my time with M-1. And this support continues until today. I still get mails and messages from my Russian fans and they wish me all the best. Among the European events, the English are for sure the loudest. During my fights in the USA there was always a very good atmosphere and I’m sure that it will not be different next week.
Stephan: Daniel, thank you for the interview. We wish you an injury-free preparation.
Daniel: You’re welcome. At this point, I want to thank all my fans and of course my sponsors Olimp Germany, Fightnature, TopTen, One Spirit Fashion and my team MMA Spririt. “Respect! There’s no room for racism!”