Mitchell: Keep The Faith And Prepare For Something Crazy

Danny ‘The Cheesecake Assassin’ Mitchell has long been a popular figure on the UK MMA circuit. A colourful character with an exciting fighting style, he had taken on many of Europe’s top welterweights before getting the call from the UFC.

Though he was one half of an intriguing battle with Igor Araujo in London in March, Mitchell was on the losing side of the decision rendered by the judges. On August 23rd he returns looking for his first Octagon victory, and he’s set to face off against TUF China runner up Wang Sai at the Cotai Arena.

Ahead of hthe bout at UFC Fight Night Macau, Danny took time out to speak to us about his upcoming opponent , some potential match ups, and his plans for MMA in the UK. Danny, your next fight is at UFC Fight Night in Macau against Wang Sai from AKA Thailand. Firstly, what do you know about your opponent?

Danny Mitchell: I know he’s from San Shou like most of the Chinese fighters, with a sort of kickboxing and wrestling background. He’s pretty wild on his feet. I’ve watched the tape on him. I know he trains with Mike Swick at AKA which is a really good gym over in Thailand. Looking at Wang Sai’s record, he’s 6-5-1, not particularly good on paper but when you look at the film on him he looks like quite a dangerous fighter that likes partaking in wild exchanges. Do you think, ‘yes, I want to get involved in those exchanges,’ or do you see it as an opportunity to take him down?

Danny Mitchell: For me in that situation I think it’s best to mix it up. I know the fans want to see people getting punched in the face and I’m up for that, but at the same time if he’s giving me an opening then I’ll take that as well. Just mix it up, stand and trading, getting the takedown, whatever I feel at the moment really. It seems that the UFC’s Chinese and Japanese fighters have had difficulties with the time differences, whether it was the long travel or the time zone difference. Macau is seven hour ahead of us. Have you considered how that’s going to affect you?

Danny Mitchell: With the weight cutting side of things, I’m doing really well with my weight right now so I’m going to be on top of that. My weight will be really low by the time I fly so I’m not going to have to kill myself with the cut, so that side of things is taken care of.

With the time difference, I think the problem is the Chinese fighters fight a lot in their own country. They don’t venture out that much and fight. I’ve fought in other countries a lot of times now. I’m used to making that change. I’m going to China a week prior so I can change my sleeping pattern round a little bit and I think everything will be fine. I’ve been out and trained in Thailand and I know the deal with the time difference there. I’m sure everything will be fine. You’re a very busy guy. You train and coach here in Dewsbury, you have a gym in Doncaster, you manage the AVT fight team, you co-own a promotion and you’re an ambassador of a Cheesecake company! As your MMA career continues do you think you’ll have to give these things up to focus 100% on fighting? Maybe move to the states like Dan Hardy and Mike Bisping did?

Danny Mitchell: No, not at all. I think the fact I do all these things that are based around MMA keeps me focused. I’m setting up a future after fighting. I can’t get punched in the face forever! With regards to training abroad, I’ve been away to train. I’ve trained in America and Thailand. I’m a big believer in bringing talent to me so my team can learn from them too. Rather than going to a pool of talent that is already set up somewhere else, I’d prefer to try and create my own pool here in the UK so that we can grow MMA over here. You’ve already fought some of the UFC welterweights on the national and European circuit. You have a win over Niko Musoke, a draw with Cathal Pendred and a loss to Gunnar Nelson. Now that you’re all in the same organisation and you have the opportunity to get a rematch, are there any you’d actively seek?

Danny Mitchell: I’m not really the kind of guy who dwells on wins and losses, I’ll fight anybody, but the only problem is the draw with Pendred. A draw on paper is like a no result, it looks like nothing. I don’t know, there could be potential for a fight between me and him in the future, who knows. If I could put money on it, I would bet on Gunnar Nelson being the next UFC welterweight champion, so if any bookmaker out there will give me that bet, give me the f***ing odds! I will put my house on the fact that he’ll will be the champion. The UFC welterweight division at the minute is the most stacked it’s ever been. Who would you like to fight? Who would you have the most success against?

Danny Mitchell: I think saying someone I’d have the most success against is picking people you can beat. I’m not thinking of it in that way. I’m looking at the fights that I would enjoy. I think that when you’re competing against your heroes, that’s when you know you’ve made it in the sport. I mean, if I got to fight people like Nick Diaz for example. He’s ones of my heroes. If I got to share the cage with any of those guys…or I could fight Mike Pyle, then the loser has to shave off his mullet maybe?! The last, but maybe the most important question, have you got any messages for all the Team Cheesecake fans that will be cheering you on, on the 23rd August?

Danny Mitchell: Just be ready for some crazy submissions. I’m always pulling them out of the bag in the gym so it’s only a matter of time before I do another one in a fight. I’ve pulled a flying triangle and a twister in fights so I think I’m due another one soon. Keep the faith, keep the faith in me. I appreciate everyone’s support.

Also a shout out to all my sponsors; XS Guard for my excellent gum shield, The Handmade Cheesecake Company for the excellent cheesecakes, Gold Standard Nutrition for keeping my fridge stocked with chicken, and Badboy for all the training kit and clothing. Thanks for taking the time out to speak to Your MMA, Danny. Best of luck in your next bout.

Speaking to Danny before and after the interview his passion for MMA was clear, and I was truly inspired by his vision of bringing talent to the area to create his own fight camps. He wasn’t blinded by the success of being in the UFC, he wants to improve MMA in the UK for everyone rather than taking the easy option and training in at a pre-existing camp abroad.

There’s some food for thought. Let us know what you think via and via @YourMMA on Twitter.

You can follow Danny on Twitter, @DannyAranha.

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