In order to work his way back towards getting a rematch with Patricio “Pitbull” Freire for the Bellator featherweight championship, former titleholder Daniel Straus knew he was going to have to face some tough competition.
Straus couldn’t have gotten a more difficult challenge than former King of the Cage titlist Henry Corrales, whom he managed to get a TKO win over in June.
“For one, Henry can hit,” Straus told MMAWeekly.com. “I give him all the respect in the world. The guy came to fight, and that’s what he did. For me, I did my game plan as best (I could).
“We were throwing blows against the cage and he caught me. He just got me in this weird position where I had to swing hard. I didn’t like that. So there were a few things that I didn’t really like that I did, but overall I think it was a good fight for me.”
Straus (24-6) will get his rematch with Freire (24-2) at Bellator 145 on Friday in St. Louis.
Having been less than a year since their last bout, Straus acknowledges he couldn’t make wholesale changes to his game, but he can do enough to make sure it’s a different fight this time around.
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“If you’re completely trying to change your style, no, you’re not going to change that,” said Straus. “If you’re tightening up small things in your game, then yeah, there’s a lot of room to change. There’s always room to grow as long as you’re working at it.
“Do expect different things from me. Small things I’ve been working on. Those small things add up to a big picture.”
While some fighters might be motivated to get their win back in a rematch, Straus’ primary concern is regaining his championship, no matter who it is he has to defeat in order to get it.
“The title is the ultimate goal, no matter who the champion is,” Straus said. “I’m here to fight. I don’t care who is in front of me. It’s not a revenge thing for me. It’s never been a revenge thing for me.
“(Freire) has beaten me fair and square twice. He was the better man and I’ve moved on. When I step into the cage, I’m fighting a new person each time and it’s a new fight each time. That’s what I focus on, beating that new guy in front of me.”
After regaining his title, Straus has his eyes set on international success and letting the featherweight division know he’s king of the hill.
“I know I want to get on that card overseas, that’s one goal,” he said. “The other goal would be slap every 145er in the face.
“There’s a bunch of hard hitting, talented guys in the 145 division, and the only way you’re going to get some respect is if you step on some toes and beat some people up.”