TEMECULA, CA. — A native of Chicago is going to have the shot to headline a major Mixed Martial Arts event this weekend.
This comes as Daniel James is looking to jumpstart his career after spending a few years overseas.
The native of the west side will face Marcelo Golm at Bellator 293 in the heavyweight main event on Friday night at Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California. It’s one of the biggest fights in James’ career as he looks to climb up the ranks of the mixed martial arts company.
He comes into the event with four-straight knockouts in his last four fights, including a victory over Tyrell Fortune at Bellator 288 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. James captured that victory just 27 seconds into the second round to improve his professional MMA record to 14-6-1.
This bout continues James’ return to the United States after fighting overseas for the last three years in Russia and Europe. The win over Fortune in Chicago the American “comeback” match for the fighter who goes by the nickname “The American Predator.”
“That was a big moment in my life and was able to seize those moments,” said James to WGN News Now about getting the opportunity to compete in different countries and see the world through MMA. “But to come back to the USA and to receive all the love that I’ve been getting has been non-stop.
“This is what I’ve really been working hard for, to come back and inspire my city, my country.”
James hopes to give those fans of his more wins as he goes forward and attempts to rise in the ranks of the heavyweight division of the sport. The spotlight of the main event gives him a prime opportunity to do so and comes as Bellator announced that another major event (Bellator 297) will make its return to Chicago on Friday, June 16 at Wintrust Arena.
While victory is certainly on his mind, James would also like to inspire those younger fighters in Chicago who may see his journey and want to pursue a dream of their own.
“My main goal with this journey right now is to just show everybody anything is possible. Just work hard at what you love. If you love it, do it, and if you do it, make it worth it,” said James when asked about his goals in MMA at this moment in his career. “Just inspire a lot of youth, teenagers, and people from Chicago that have been following me, and I’ve been mentoring a lot of kids, so for them to see me do this and to overcome a lot of different things in life, its some motivation, inspiration for them.
“That’s the main goal is to keep those kids tuned in to what I’m doing and staying focused.”
The process continues on Friday night when he steps into a major MMA spotlight in Bellator.