Bellator 261 Fighter Pre-Fight Interview: Daniel “Drake” Weichel Enjoys the Pain that Comes with Being an MMA Fighter

PC: Bellator

FighterPath had the pleasure of Daniel Weichel sitting down with us and talking about his opponent, the weight cut, his impressive 52 fight career, and what motivates him to keep going.

KV: Hello everyone! Joining us is Daniel Weichel, who flew in from Germany to be here for Bellator 261 at the Mohegan Sun. Thank you for joining us, and how are you doing today?

DW: Thank you! I am doing well; the weight cut is going well. Not much to say, really, other than I’m looking forward to Friday night.

KV: Perfect! Looking at your record, you’re a 52 fight veteran! Not a lot of MMA fighters can even claim that, much less 40 fights. How do you feel after all that?

DW: Honestly, I don’t know. It feels like a very long time from when I started at 17 to the present day. I think I’ve experienced A LOT in my MMA career through this sport. I’ve had the chance to go to different countries, meet other people, meet my fans from all over! It has created a lot of good memories for me.

KV: Speaking of long careers, you’ve been in Bellator for almost seven years now! You’ve told me they’ve taken care of you, treated you well, and have also had a healthy relationship during your career. With you accomplishing everything you have, what is the current challenge you face in this fight?

DW: That is a great question, and it’s a question I take very seriously. I found myself asking this myself many times. The biggest challenge that has always remained in front of me has been to fulfill my full potential out there in the cage. It’s not about getting my hand raised; it’s about performing my absolute best and leaving it all out there. When I go out there and accomplish that, I can leave with a smile on my face, knowing I’m getting the result I wanted or achieved.

KV: The new trend is that fighters tend to maximize their opportunities as quickly as possible and retire before the damage gets to them. Fifty-two fights into your career; how are you keeping yourself in pristine shape?

DW: I mean, to be honest, I do have lingering pain, here and there, haha. I’m not gonna lie. My neck and back. It’s whatever. I love it, haha.

KV: It’s a reminder and a badge that you’re a MMA fighter, haha!

DW: Of course! When I meet other people from the MMA community, they also tell me what hurts them, so it’s not that different from everyone else. For me, it’s a part of the game. But even now, I still feel very healthy.

KV: Alright, you’re facing Keoni Diggs. He has a 9-0 MMA record. Compared to your 40-12 MMA record, that’s nothing. How do you approach a fight with an undefeated opponent who doesn’t seem to have much professional experience? Can you be the 1 in 9-1 on Friday for Diggs?

DW: Absolutely, that’s one part of Friday’s goal. But, to be honest, I don’t get too deep into that. He has nine fights, and I can tell he’s hungry. You can see that in his last battle, with his aggressive fighting style. But to me, he’s just my opponent, standing opposite the cage. I have to bring the best version of me and beat him, and that’s something a record cant change.

KV: Alright all that being said, where do you see this fight going? Give us a fight preview, if you can.

DW: It’ll be a lot of movement, with me picking my shots. I’ll work on eliminating his offense while putting my things together and expose the holes in his game-plan to finish the fight.

KV: Are you looking for a finish? To announce that you’re back? Or are you happy rolling with the game plan?

DW: First, I want to run with the game plan. And then, things will come from there. If I keep discipline on my game plan and listen to my team, I will be able to find my openings to finish the fight.

KV: Alright. One last non-MMA question. Every country seems to be handling COVID, unique to their region and condition. How have things been in Germany for you with COVID?

DW: It was a tough time. We had a time where gyms were closed, and most public areas were shut down and closed as well. Thankfully, after some time, my fantastic team, MMA Spirit, was able to get us, the professional fighters, training again under certain heavy restrictions, of course. We were lucky to have the team and the help it gave us during the pandemic. We were fortunate in that aspect. The gym couldn’t make money with no members as well. Initially, we struggled as a gym, but we are back on our feet now as a gym. The members were happy to return! You could see the joy and enthusiasm when they returned to the gym! It was nice to see them return and train with them.

KV: It is hard to tell athletes to lock themselves in their houses for an extended period! By the way, are you staying back in America or flying back home?

DW: Ha, I will be flying home on Saturday. I can’t wait to see my family!

KV: Thank you Daniel for your time, and I wish you luck on Friday!

Kevin Varghese

Leave a Reply