Daniel Crawford obtained the “biggest win” of his MMA career so far last Friday and three days later he celebrated his 24th birthday.
Although Crawford is now on the verge of a world title shot, he believes that much of the Croydon community remain unsure of what MMA is.
He explained: “It’s growing but I don’t think people know about it as much as they do in the north of England. It’s more boxing here.
“I tell people I box because I really can’t be bothered explaining what I actually do sometimes. Or I have to say cage fighting, just so they can say ‘oh I know what you’re talking about now’. That’s how London is for the most part.”
He commemorated a significant few days by playing mini golf and eating out with his girlfriend.
“Nothing crazy,” as Crawford put it.
But despite the modest celebrations, Crawford holds an enviable professional MMA record of nine wins and one loss.
However, he commenced combat sports as an amateur boxer competing 24 times.
“MMA definitely wasn’t popular when I first started,” Crawford began. “My dad wasn’t too happy; he wished I stayed with boxing.”
Crawford suggested that anyone in Croydon could value from training in mixed martial arts.
“MMA benefitted me because it just gives me a different insight to life. When you fight a guy in a cage, you just realise that, for example, when you’re having road rage in the car, it just really doesn’t matter if someone cuts you off, there’s more to life,” he stated.
Due to his first round stoppage win over Ronnie Mann in Birmingham last week at BAMMA 29, the Croydon fighter is now expected to challenge for the promotion’s world title.
He said: “I want that belt or to be on the world stage. I know I’m ready. I just wanna be the best.”
According to Crawford, his style of combat is one of a “technical brawler” who stays close to his opponent and uses head movement to evade strikes.
The rising contender has secured five first round stoppages and has a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
After claiming the win last week in Birmingham’s Genting Arena, Crawford collapsed to the floor in exhilaration.
“It was just… my time,” Crawford commented after a reflective pause.
“I wanted to finish him in the first round. Nobody has ever finished him before. I wanted to make a statement that I’m different than everybody else.”
Crawford aspires to be a special fighter and has ambitions of soon competing in leading American promotions the UFC or Bellator MMA.
He explained: “There would be no point in me beating people up for no reason. I’ve had my hand raised many times in MMA and boxing. It’s about more than that now.”
The mixed martial artist has been to America to train on multiple occasions but he wouldn’t ever contemplate leaving London to fight from there permanently.
He stated that UK competitors no longer need to rely on America for quality coaching because people are “bringing back” what they have learned from the States.
He added: “There are a lot of shows happening in London now. Bellator come to London a lot, BAMMA and a bunch of other shows. It’s picking up slowly I guess.”
At the end of the interview, Crawford insisted on acknowledging the following people.
“I'd like to thank my wrestling coach Rahim Modarresi from United Martial Arts Academy, Eamonn Madden from Aeon Bjj, Steve O'keeffe from Revolution Martial Arts, Sid from Mogul Management, Badboy for the sponsorship and a big thank you to my mum and dad for all their support.”