Standout kickboxer “The Real Deal” Raymond Daniels (0-0) will make his mixed martial arts debut on Friday against Jeremiah Metcalf (8-4) at Strikeforce “Melendez vs. Thomson” in San Jose, the promotion has announced:
Following a spectacular, undefeated run in Chuck Norrisâ€™ World Combat League, 28-year-old kickboxing superstar, Raymond â€œThe Real Dealâ€ Daniels (0-0), will make his long-awaited mixed martial arts (MMA) debut when he takes on Jeremiah Metcalf (8-4) in a middleweight (185 lb. limit) battle at Strikeforceâ€™s â€œMelendez vs. Thomsonâ€ mega-card at HP Pavilion on Friday.
Already being hailed as the second coming of Strikeforce World Middleweight Champion, Cung Le, Daniels, recognized as the number one Sport Karate fighter in the world, holds a 6th degree black belt in Kenpo and Shotokan Karate as well as a 5th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.Â He packs a thrilling, dynamic fighting style that is strikingly similar to Le, also a guru of traditional martial arts.
â€œIâ€™m going to give MMA fans something that theyâ€™ve never seen before,â€ said Daniels, a resident of Long Beach, California.Â â€œI want to become the greatest fighter of all time.Â Anybody that steps in front of me is just gonna be on my next highlight reel, an obstacle thatâ€™s standing in my path to greatness.â€
The career path of Daniels, thus far, mimics that of Le, who crossed over to the world of mixed martial arts in 2006 after running to a perfect 16-0 record in the sport of professional kickboxing.Â Despite the parallels that can be drawn to the Strikeforce world middleweight champion, though, Daniels is quick to point out that he is his own man and is determined to carve out a unique legacy in the martial arts fight world.
â€œI donâ€™t try to be the next anybody,â€ said Daniels.Â â€œI look to be greater than Cung and surpass anyone whoâ€™s been considered at the top of their game.Â I try to live up to who I am and I expect great things from myself.â€
It was at the young age of five that Daniels became inspired by his father, Frank, a seasoned martial artist and Sport Karate competitor, to study Kenpo and, later, to test his skills against other Karate players.Â From Ireland to Australia, Switzerland, Hungary, and Germany, he has since traveled the world to face and defeat top-ranked opponents.
Daniels joined the ranks of the WCL in 2006 and amassed a record of 18-0 over the course of three seasons with the leagueâ€™s Los Angeles Stars team.Â Earlier this month, he captained his squad to a season championship.
â€œI still havenâ€™t had any challenges or anything like that so I decided to come over to MMA and see how good I really am.â€
Danielsâ€™ opponent, Metcalf, brings to the cage a three-fight win streak.Â He is a product of Modesto, Californiaâ€™s AAA Academy of Kickboxing, the training center that spawned 2003 K-1 North America tournament champion, Carter Williams.
In the headline bout Strikeforce lightweight champion “El Nino” Gilbert Melendez faces “The Punk” Josh Thomson for the 155-pound title. Additional bouts for the event include a light heavyweight championship bout pitting champion Bobby Southworth against Anthony Ruiz, Joe Riggs versus Luke Stewart, Nam Phan versus Billy Evangelista, and Elaina Maxwell versus Miesha Tate.