At this weekend’s Glory 19, Friday night at 9:00 p.m. ET live on Spike, Raymond Daniels makes his fourth Glory appearance. He comes in to the Welterweight tournament off of an interesting 2014 – a year that saw him log less than one round of ring time in just a single fight, and yet also a year that made him one of the sport’s most talked about fighters. That’s because of one kick. Daniels’s jumping spinning back kick KO of Francois Ambang was the stuff of legend, the kind of thing you see in a movie and say, “that’s ridiculous, that could never work in a fight.” But as Daniels can attest, it can indeed.
Now, riding a stream of KO of the year accolades, Daniels steps back into the ring to enter the Glory 19 Welterweight tournament. He takes on Jonatan Oliveira in the first round, with a world title shot on the line for the tournament winner.
I had a chance to speak to Daniels as he prepared to head out to Virginia for the show – here’s what the veteran fighter had to say:
On the Ambang KO:
Against Ambang I wanted to show a little bit more. People didn’t get a chance to see my skill set, to see what I’m capable of. That’s why I’m glad this is a tournament, because I’ll be able to fight twice in one night and put it all on display for the whole world to see.
There’s a lot of hype coming out of that kick, but it’s not like that’s something I’ve never done before, it just happened to be the first time it was done on national television. I try not to let the pressure get to me. My goal is always to go out there for the next fight, try to improve, try to do something that much more spectacular, so that people say “wow what’s he going to do next?” And I use that to my advantage because now my opponent is not worried about winning or beating me, he’s worried about not being on my highlight reel. And I’m ok with that. You’re planning to lose to me? OK, that’s fine by me. I’ve been in fights before and heard the corner say, just don’t let him knock you out, don’t let him knock you out. The first time it happened, I thought, “Are they messing with me, trying to get me out of my comfort zone and overcommit?” But no that was just his mindset – not to win the fight but just to survive the fight.
On his Glory 13 loss to Welterweight champion Joseph Valtellini:
I definitely made adjustments after the Valtellini fight both mentally and physically. There were areas I wasn’t training enough on, so I worked to expand my vocabulary and my understanding of the different styles. Now I feel a lot stronger, a lot more confident when I step in the ring.
I want to face Valtellini again. They make movies about things like this. He’s the first person I lost to in my stand up fighting career. I was exposed to a different style, and it lit a fire under me. It’s a fire I always knew was there, but I didn’t know could burn so hot. That’s the reason I accepted this tournament because after I win this tournament I’ll have a title shot and a chance to face the only man who’s ever beat me. So I kill two birds with one stone, I get to become the champion and I get to beat the only man who ever beat me standing up.
On Glory 19 opponent Jonatan Oliveira and a possible tournament final against Nieky Holzken:
I’m expecting Oliveira to use leg kicks. They saw that was a chink in my armor, a way someone was able to slow me down. So I expect him to come out, to be aggressive, to have his hands high. But I’ve made adjustments, so I’m prepared for anything they think they are going to do. Everyone has a plan until they get hit. Everyone has a plan until those techniques are actually coming at you.
I’m excited Holzken is in this tournament because after I fight Oliveira, I’m hoping he won his match so I can fight him, put a stamp on it, then beat Valtellini and let everyone know I mean business.
On his goals as a fighter:
My goal is to give everyone something they’ve never seen before. To give them a reason to come back to see Glory again, to see me again. That’s always my goal, to put on a great show so that everyone wants to see me. Whether they want to see me get beat or see me win I must be doing something right!
See Raymond Daniels and the Glory 19 Welterweight tournament live on Spike, this Friday, February 6 at 9:00 p.m. ET. We’ll have live fight night coverage right here at Bloody Elbow.
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