Daniel Weichel fell in love with MMA after watching a Renzo Gracie fight

When the lights dim and Daniel Weichel steps into the cage for his Bellator debut on Friday night against Scott Cleve in the opening round of season ten’s featherweight tournament at Bellator 110, all of the time has spent honing his craft as mixed martial artist will be validated.Daniel Weichel

Since making his professional MMA debut on May 12th, 2002, Weichel, a former M-1 Global Lightweight Champion that will end up being the second German fighter to compete in Bellator, has amassed a 31-8 record with 19 of his victories coming by way of submission.

Back when Weichel first started fighting professionally, Josh Barnett, Tito Ortiz, and Murilo Bustamante were UFC champions. The oddness of a 29 year-old like Weichel having so much experience under his belt becomes more clear when finding out how young he was when he became passionate about Mixed Martial Arts.

“I was around 16 when I first got in touch with the sport,” Weichel said. “I had a certain background in martial arts and after watching a Renzo Gracie fight, I fell in love right away.”

A teenager being set on the idea of making a sport that can be as violent as MMA his primary occupation is unsettling for most parents and Weichel’s father and mother were no exception. Although they were sour on the idea at first, his parents eventually came around on his choice and began supporting him.

“They [Weichel’s parents] are really proud of me,” said Weichel. “They like my attitude and that I am fighting for my dream in the true sense of the word.”

Although Weichel’s parents have made it a habit to attend his fights in Germany, they haven’t been able to view a significant portion of his career in person since he is a journeyman of sorts. Weichel has fought in eight different countries and in 18 various promotions.

Having won 13 of his last 15 bouts, Weichel is currently on an impressive run, but he hasn’t competed in a year – the longest layoff in his career. Being absent from the cage for such a long time could produce ring rust, but Weichel views it as a positive.

“The timeout gave me the chance to improve a lot and I could focus on developing a whole new game,” said the Bellator featherweight.

Weichel will be able to showcase the aspects of his arsenal that he has improved against Scott Cleve.

Cleve, who with Weicel is among the five featherweights competing in their first Bellator tournament, made a statement in his debut with the promotion, finishing Isaac DeJesus in the second round with strikes. After starting out his career 4-2, Cleve would go on to be victorious in 10 of his next 11 outings.

When sizing up his opponent, Daniel Weichel respected the well-roundedness of Cleve.

“Scott Cleve likes to scramble, has a solid ground, wrestling and striking game,” said Weichel. “Scott Cleve knows how to fight everywhere, but has weaknesses as any fighter [would].”

It would be a surprise if the judges were needed for the featherweight bout. Between both men’s combined 56 fights, over 75% of them have ended in some type of finish.

“I always try to finish my fights,” said Weichel. “Scott has (as his fight stats suggest) the same mentality,”.

Weichel’s journey inside Bellator begins tonight. Against Scott Cleve at Bellator 110, Weichel will have the opportunity to feature what he brings to the table as a mixed martial artist.

“The most important thing for me is to win and to show the world what I am capable of doing,” said Weichel. “I am far from having reached my peak, but I am heading into the right direction and you will get to see it in the cage.”