Daniel Payne always improving

by Connor ~ January 29th, 2012
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This Friday I had the privilege to sit down with Daniel from the new MTV hit show “Caged.” From the show you can tell Daniel has faced low times in his life, but has also used those for motivation and be successful as a martial artist. Daniel has lost one fight and has won one fight on the show. I was able to find more about this young fighter, what he is about, what he wants, and what drives him to be successful in the sport of MMA.

In high school Daniel was first introduced to fighting by boxing. When he experienced the college life, he did not have a lot of time to train in boxing. When he graduated from college, he had a hard time getting back into boxing when MMA was becoming much bigger. That is when Daniel made the move to MMA. Daniel said “I have been hooked ever since.” Daniel mentioned that boxing and MMA are the only sports that he has ever really been able to have motivation to improve his game. It was obvious to see that this young athlete has a true love for the sport of MMA.

Daniel has not been in the fight game for long. Being only an amateur fighter he still has a long way to go until he reaches his ultimate goal, the UFC. With the show airing now I asked Daniel if he has any extra pressure when he fights. Daniel answered “Everybody knows this guy, so I have to beat him and knock him out in the first round.” By that comment I could tell Daniel feels that extra pressure that he needs to perform to his best ability with all eyes on him. Now critics will watch him to see if he is the real deal. In order to perform well you need motivation. Daniel said his motivation is to be the best that he can be and get better at every aspect of his game. We also talked about friends and family as a motivator. Daniel said he has never fought out of state in MMA. He mentioned that the town of Minden is very supportive and is a real motivator to have a great performance in front of them.

When I asked Daniel what he would like to achieve in this upcoming year his answer was “One of my big goals is I got knocked out on the first one (first episode), the last episode I shied away from my stand up, I want to get back at that, I started in boxing, so I want to get back where I used to be.” He also said he would like to go pro and get that much closer to the highest level. He mentioned his next two upcoming fights on “Caged” were some of his toughest opponents. Viewers will have to wait and see if Daniel was able to improve his standup for those fights and build up his record. Daniel added that these next two fights on the show were also the hardest he has ever trained, and pushed limits to make sure he was ready.

Before this interview I thought Daniel was a shy individual who loves MMA, and wants to be successful. That impression was pretty spot on. At the interview I gained more of a perspective of where he comes from and what he is all about. Daniel is a true competitor, he trains hard, gets motivated, and improves his game to be the best fighter he can possibly be. If he can look past the pressure of fans and critics now watching his every move in the cage, there is no doubt that Daniel cannot be successful in MMA and be able to compete in a high level MMA organization.

By Connor Northrup

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