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Bellator’s Fresh Faces: Raymond “Real Deal” Daniels

Raymond Daniels (2-1) is an American mixed martial artist from Sun Valley, CA. He is a professional kickboxer and MMA fighter currently signed to Bellator. After the kickboxing star recently made his successful return to MMA, he now sets his sights on the Bellator MMA Welterweight Championship.

Personal Life

Raymond Lee Daniels, born on April 29, 1980, is an American mixed martial artist from Sun Valley, CA. He was raised in Palmdale, CA. His grandfather, Frankie Daniels, was a Purple Heart recipient from the time he spent serving in the Korean War and was also a professional boxer.

Raymond Daniels in a kickboxing match

While still in high school, Daniels became a single father and knew he wanted to create a positive life for his son. When he was 21, Daniels became a police officer with the Long Beach Police Department. He would serve with the department for seven years, before retiring to focus on his martial arts career.

In August of 2019, Raymond Daniels married Colbey Northcutt. Colbey is an MMA fighter herself with a record of 1-1, and sister of ONE Championship fighter Sage Northcutt.

Martial Arts Background & Rank

Raymond began training American Kenpo Karate under his father in 1985, at just five years old. He is a sixth-degree black belt in American Kenpo, a sixth-degree black belt in Shotokan, and a fifth-degree Kukkiwon black belt in Taekwondo.

  • Sixth-degree black belt in American Kenpo Karate
  • Sixth-degree black belt in Shotokan Karate
  • Fifth-degree Kukkiwon black belt in Taekwondo
Raymond Daniels posing at a Bellator MMA weigh in

Martial Arts Career

Raymond Daniels got his start as a junior competitor in sport karate competitions. He became a top-ranked fighter for the North American Sport Karate Association, (NASKA) and the National Black Belt League (NBL) at just 19 years old.

Daniels began fighting for Chuck Norris’ famed World Combat League (WCL) in 2006. He compiled a 17-0 record while fighting under the promotion. In 2007, he faced fellow undefeated fighter Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in a bout that was highly anticipated by fans. The fight would go down as a TKO for Daniels after Thompson injured his ACL while attempting to land a flurry of punches.

Daniels faced fellow current-Bellator fighter Michael “Venom” Page three times between 2008-2011 in semi-contact kickboxing bouts in the 185 lb division. Daniels defeated Page in all three bouts.

While Daniels is flourishing in MMA today, he didn’t exactly get off to the best start. In 2008, he made his MMA debut in the promotion Strikeforce against  JeremiahMetcalf. Daniels was defeated in the second round via submission (rear-naked choke).

He was then signed with Glory Kickboxing and would amass a 4-3 record before getting signed by Bellator. Daniels is currently 8-0 in Bellator Kickboxing and is the current Bellator Welterweight Kickboxing Champion.

On May 4, 2019, Daniels returned to MMA for the first time in over a decade. He faced Wilker Barros at Bellator Birmingham and won via spectacular 720 hook KO. Daniels’ most recent fight was on January 25, 2020, against Jason King at Bellator 238. He won the fight via TKO in the first round, bringing his overall pro-MMA record to 2-1.

He was ranked the #1 welterweight kickboxer in the world by Combat Press and remained on the list until November of 2019 when he was bumped from the top 10 list.

Raymond Daniels performing his 720 hook on Wilker Barros.

Fighting Style

Raymond Daniels is very flashy in his fighting style. He utilizes the wide, karate-like stance that has been habitual throughout his career. This stance makes it easy for him to throw the side-kick, which he often favors. Daniels is very calculated in each strike he throws, and, despite him being 40 years old, does not get tired easily.

Future In Bellator

Daniels has stated that he wants to be a double-champ in Bellator, but not in two weight-classes like most double-champs. Daniels is still the current Bellator Welterweight Kickboxing Champion and wants to simultaneously possess it alongside the Bellator Welterweight MMA Championship.

With Douglas Lima currently ruling the welterweight division, however, Daniels has a tough road ahead of him to become a double Bellator champion.

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