Mallory: Hey everybody. Welcome to SMA Live. It is a wonderful Saturday, March 23rd. We have just gotten back from Irish Open, California, and all this other stuff.
Of course, joining me is my staple co-host, Ross Levine! Ross, how you doing brother? I know you had the flu, how are you feeling?
Ross: I’m feeling so much better. It was kind of a blessing in disguise because I’m getting ready for my next fight, which I know we’re going to touch on a little bit. Things are good. I’m just rolling. Training hard. I’m up at Lauzon’s MMA on Saturdays. Training with Joe Lauzon and all the killers out there. Bunch of studs. I got my workout in, taught a private lesson, did some meal preps. I’m just hanging man.
Mallory: It is the life of an athlete, and that is one thing we will be discussing, but now for our first guest, we’re going to be bringing on the man himself, who is now battling his toughest opponent, which is LA traffic, and that is Raymond Daniels, who joins us from his car! Raymond, thank you for taking the time to join us. I know you’re just coming back from a workout. You’re battling that LA traffic. How are you doing, champ?
Raymond: I’m doing great man. This is always the toughest battle, is this LA traffic. But, hey, you got to make it work, you got to make it happen. I didn’t want to miss this show and this opportunity to talk to both of you guys. We all go way back. Y’know what I mean? So, I’ll make it happen.
Mallory: I certainly appreciate it. As of anyone who hasn’t heard the big news, you’re making your Bellator MMA premiere. You have dipped your toe into the MMA arena before. What makes you want to go ahead and return back for another second go around?
Raymond: When I look back at the other fight I did, it was over a decade ago. I was a little bit younger in life. My knowledge and understanding of the different arts as far as wrestling and jujitsu wasn’t the same as it is now. I’ve been able to go into each and every field that I went into from NBL to NASKA to WAKO to WCL, even Glory and now Bellator. I’ve been able to rise to the top of each one.
For me, it’s the evolution of me, my fighting style, my fighting career. I’m looking forward to going back in here and making a stamp on this and creating a legacy, even in the MMA world. What I’d like to show everybody as a sport martial artist, and you see great fighters like my man Ross doing it as well, our true skill sets and our true abilities. I do these things and they see them on TV, and they’re like. “We’ve been doing this every weekend at sport karate tournaments.”
Mallory: That’s true. That is absolutely true.
Ross: That’s awesome man. I look at your return to MMA as just another way for you to demonstrate why you’ve been such a predominant figure in our culture. You’ve come back to the sport so many times, whether it be from transitioning between the WCL and Point Fighting or Point Fighting and your Achilles injury. Now, you’re taking everything that you’ve done here and going back to MMA. I just see this as another opportunity for you to demonstrate why you are the top guy, the elite of the elites. I’m really looking forward to it. I know the Sport Karate World is looking forward to it.
What is, in your opinion, the most challenging thing going from training Point Karate to training the kickboxing and now, you’re diving more into the wrestling? The jujitsu?
Aside from just the challenge of learning, which sometimes is fun, what’s the toll on your body? How does it change your training? What’s new for you?
Raymond: That’s an awesome question. Well, I look at it like this. From the Sport Karate transition to the kickboxing world, it’s a little bit of change as far as my intent, y’know what I mean? When we were out there and we were fighting in Sport Karate, people thought you and I really didn’t like each other. That we were trying to hurt each other. We were trying to hit each other hard, but there was a respect. We knew we were not trying to take to that extra level as if it was a full contact fight where you try to knock the other person out or whatever the case.
The transition from Sport Karate to full contact wasn’t that complicated of a transition because we understand a distance that most kick-boxers don’t understand, so we’re able to use that distance to our advantage. It always felt amazing to be able to do that. I understand a whole different range. Transitioning to the wrestling and the jujitsu, that’s a whole different wear and tear on your body and you’re training the mentality of dealing with some of these wrestlers and jujitsu guys. It’s amazing how resilient these guys are.
I’m really excited. It’s fun to be the student again. When I’m in my arena, I’m very comfortable. I’m very dominant. It’s an awesome feeling to have people taking it to me at times and learning, and then, improving and seeing growth again, it’s amazing.
For me, that’s the whole spirit of what a true martial artist is about. It’s about being able to be the white-belt again, so to speak, and be able to learn and be able to grow and continue to make yourself better.
Ross: Yeah, I think that’s what sets some of us apart from the others, the ability to constantly empty our cup and throw the ego out the window, man. That’s really cool.
Now, I’ve done jujitsu a very little bit. Maybe five, six years ago, I messed around with the guys with Team Link. I was training with Alex Davidas back home, but from my perspective, I was able to take some of that point fighting, like the quick analyzing of what’s going on, and almost feel like I had a bird’s eye view of doing jujitsu where the game almost felt a little slow. Now, wrestling’s different, but do you feel that with all of your experience and the ability to make quick adjustments? Do you feel that transition when you’re doing jujitsu?
Raymond: Yes, man. That’s the one thing. It’s like when you’re doing it, I think from the experience of being a martial artist and being able to learn, and being able to take in different concepts and ideas. Now, it’s just about how to apply them to wrestling, how to apply them to jujitsu. I feel that every time I do it, I’m going with guys that are higher levels than me but, at the same time, I’m also leveling up as well. It’s amazing to have that feeling and have that IQ.
It’s that fighter IQ. You can use it in stand-up fighting, but you can also use that same IQ in jujitsu or wrestling as well. To be able to level up like that, it feels great and I feel the learning curve is a lot shorter because as a martial artist, we understand that repetition is the master of success. The more you repeat something, the better you understand it, the more success you’re going to have. I take those same concepts to when I’m learning jujitsu or when I’m learning wrestling.
Mallory: Having someone that’s on your side and helping out. I definitely got to send a quick shout-out. Thank you to your wonderful fiancée, Colby, for helping me set up this interview.
Raymond: [Laughs] She’s the organizer of my life. If you guys notice, I didn’t wear my world title until she came in my life. All great things happen with a beautiful woman by your side. That’s why she was able to get me hooked up. I know you guys tried to get in contact with me. A lot of the times, it’s best if you go through her. She’s like, “Raymond, do this”. I’m like, “Okay” [laughs].
Mallory: It seems like you’re learning the lesson, happy wife, happy life. That’s absolutely factual. Actually, just sending out to everybody, if you have any questions for Raymond, please definitely message us right here. I can read everything and I can ask him the questions.
But also, keeping in the Northcutt family, you’ve been getting some great jujitsu help for some of the other Northcutt siblings. Can you tell us about that?
Raymond: Yes. I got my man, Shawn. He’s actually just– He’s right here in the car with me.
Mallory: I thought I saw him in the back.
Raymond: Came from doing some training. He’s hanging out here, being one of my partners for jujitsu and some wrestling. He’s solid. I also had Sage out here last week. He was going over a lot of wrestling and jujitsu. He’s over in Sacramento at Alpha Male. He’s just an amazing athlete, and they’re both able to interchange the sport karate, with the wrestling, with the jujitsu. They’re super explosive.
It’s been fun to train with them in that area. Then, also, to give them the knowledge in the stand-up side of life, from my experience and my kickboxing. Trying to pass on that knowledge to them, as well.
Mallory: Well, Our first question just came in. It is from good doctor Marc Plawker. It says, “GOAT Raymond, what music will you be walking out to?”
Raymond: [Laughs] I normally walk to a mix of different music, but I was at the Irish Open and I actually heard James Foyer do some stuff. I was talking to the young man. He’s from the sport martial arts world. I was like, “Hey, you know what? We got to all stick together. We got to have each other’s backs.”
He just texted me the other day and was like, “You’re doing your MMA fight?”
I’m going to hit him up about making me a personal song that I can actually walk out to, but I like to walk out to a lot of different things, that get in my zone, start to feel my vibe and then just enjoying the moment.
For me, my walkout is just embracing that moment, that opportunity. Ross, as you know, going after your first pro fight, it’s a feeling that it’s hard to describe. It’s a rush, it’s adrenaline, it’s a great moment. It’s like being on that roller coaster when you get to the top of the roller coaster, and you’re like, “Why did I get on this thing? Who signed me up for this?” Then you drop and you’re like, “Ahhhh!”, but you’re having an amazing time while you’re doing it.
Mallory: Of course we got comments going on Twitter, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the comment by Dean Barry, who says, “You’re going to walk out to Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (laughter).
Mallory: I don’t think that’s going to be it. I like the selection of JP’s song. I’m looking forward to that. I like that you’re collaborating with someone. Let me see here. I was just trying to get all the details of that fight. I was caught up in the interview. What are the dates and where is it at?
Raymond: The fight will be in Birmingham. It will be on Saturday, May 4th. Everybody should be able to check it out on Paramount and The Zone.
Ross: Do you know if they’re throwing you right on to the main card?
Raymond: I don’t know. I would imagine they would throw me on the main card. You know how it goes sometimes with the promotion, but I would imagine I would be on the main card.
Mallory: Just going back. It is held under Bellator MMA in Birmingham, Daniels versus Durant, Saturday, May 4th.
Raymond just told you to look out for that in the Paramount Network.
Now, I’ve actually tried to dig up some information on your opponent, but you don’t really like to preview too much about who you’re going up against, do you?
Raymond: Me? No, honestly, for me, I just want to know what stance they fight in, because at the end of the day, they got two hands and two feet just like I have. I just want to know do they fight orthodox or do they fight southpaw?
I know he’s a pro. I think he’s a world champion kick-boxer guy. He’s done some WAKO. Also, he’s familiar with some Sport Karate background. I always just think, as Ross knows, there’s levels to Sport Karate Champions. I think it’s always different when somebody gets in the ring and they’ve done Sport Karate, but when you’re with one of the most elite ones that have ever done it, it’s a whole different feel to it. Even Steven Thompson, he’s awesome with that craft that he does.
It’s a lot different from people when they actually experience it and they’re actually bouncing around with somebody. Yeah, I’m looking forward to fighting him. I don’t really know a lot of his background if he’s good at wrestling, if he’s good with jujitsu.
But, that’s the beautiful thing about MMA, there are so many different puzzle pieces to the equation that you have to be prepared for. To be honest, most people I fight in MMA, I wouldn’t imagine they would want to stand up and fight me.
Mallory: That’s definitely a well-said statement. And we have a question coming in from Lee Common who asks, “What has been your main focus in this training?” I assume he means training camp.
Raymond: In this training camp, I’m always conditioning myself to the best of my ability. I always felt that no matter how good you are at any pathway, whether it’s wrestling, whether it’s striking, whether it’s jujitsu, if you don’t have the cardio for it, it doesn’t matter how much you know.
Mallory: Got you. This message just in from Ms. Emily Cooper asking about your prodigies that you’re training in your school, do you think any of them might follow in your footsteps?
Raymond: Yes, some of them are hungry. I got a couple of them that are out right now. I’ve been bringing them on the scene a little bit more. There’s young Pau and James, they’ve been doing an amazing job. We picked up our new teammate, Elijah, I know he has aspirations to get to the full contact world.
I’m taking the young guys under my wing into the Sport Karate world and developing them so they can go into the full contact world. I know a lot of people will see myself or they see Ross or they see certain people doing this, and they’re like, “I’m going to do it”.
But, If you don’t have the basics down, it could be a really hard transition for you. I found that from a lot of the European fighters. Sometimes they try and transition over. We’ve honed our skills over the years, not just as Sport Karate fighters, but just as traditional martial artists, punching and kicking properly. And Then, we’ve also taken the time to understand the other art forms and respect those art forms. I respect the wrestling, I respect the jujitsu.
For me, that’s why I’m re-entering this. It’s amazing to do it because when I was younger, and I did this a decade ago, I was just like, “Oh, why do I need to train in jujitsu? Why do I need to train in wrestling?” I was like, “I’ll just go and blitz everybody, kick them in the head, and then call it a day”. I was in for a rude awakening.
That’s a very fortunate thing, and I’m glad that it happened to me then just because now I can reflect on that experience and then do everything in my power to make sure that never happens again.
Mallory: You know what? That shows a lot of experience and wisdom just to talk about that openly and also know that you’ve learned something from it.
Next question comes in from señor Alex Dingmann, who, says, and this may be a little bit premature because I know that MVP has a fight already booked for May 11th, if I remember, in Chicago, but he asks, “If Bellator were to ask you to match up against MVP, how would you feel?”
Raymond: When you fight somebody, you’re fighting somebody. I always figure that question is going to be asked eventually, one way or another, whatever. I don’t necessarily have an aspiration to go and– I’m not going to call Mike and be like, “Mike, where you’re at? Let’s do this”.
You guys call him MVP, I call him Mike. (laughter) No, I don’t necessarily have aspirations to fight him. If the opportunity presents itself and it makes the dollars and it makes sense, then I’m always open to different things. He’s from the sport karate world as I am, so I want to see him be as successful as I am.
But, If the opportunity presents itself, I mean, people even ask the same thing about myself and Ross.
Ross: Too much, in my opinion.
Raymond: Too much, right?
Ross: I think so, yes.
Raymond: I’m like, “Do you all know how many other people in the world there is for Ross to fight and for me to fight beside us fighting each other or for me and Mike to fight?”
Ross: Or how many times we’ve already done it.
Raymond: Yes, I’ve already fought Ross a whole lot of times. Ross got my respect, Mike got my respect. But obviously, if that’s what the masses want to see and the opportunity presents itself, then yes, I’m more than happy.
It’s not something that I would go out and be like, “Oh”, and start calling him out. I’m happy that he’s doing his thing in the way he’s doing it. I wish him nothing but success.
Mallory: Also, a follow-up from also Alex Dingmann. He asks, “How many years do you think you could do this?” I know that’s a question for the future, but…
Raymond: Well, I was messing around with everybody. My change from sport karate to even the full contact kinda transcended the generations.
I can still do sport karate, but I just thought because of risk versus reward. I think I’m going to change my thing away from the real deal to the highlight reel.
It’s just that I feel like I’m not aging. I feel like I can do it forever. I’m feeling younger and stronger than I ever have before. I’m taking care of my body better than I ever have. Back when I was younger, I was just not taking care of my body as best I should.
Now, it’s actually on Colby, I’m going to be honest with you guys. She makes me eat right. She’s like, “Eat this right now, this meal. What? Don’t eat that. Put that down”. I’m like, “Okay”. She takes care of me, she meal preps for me, so it’s automatic, systematic for me.
I feel better than I ever have. Even after I came back from my achilles, I didn’t know if I was going to be the same. People are experiencing me now, and Ross, you fought me pre-achilles and after, and people don’t realize that I’m not even as explosive as I once was.
I feel amazing. My knowledge and my fight IQ has come up. I guess now I’m using a little bit more experience. As long as I’m not taking damage, fight games, it’s always, Ross, always better to give than to receive, brother. As long as I’m out there giving and I’m not taking any damage–How long could you go fighting if all your fights ended up like your last fight?
Ross: Yes, we can do this all day. I’m catching up to you in age, but yes, I’m going to push it as far as I can. It’s funny that you say that, man, because I was always in decent shape, but I had no idea how good of a shape I could possibly get in until I started really taking this sport seriously. Are you 37, 38?
Raymond: I’ll be 39. Actually, when this fight happens, I’ll be in England and it’ll be my 39th birthday. Then, I’ll fight on May 4th. Like I said, I’m feeling great, man. I feel amazing. Like you said, we did enough in sport karate in order to be the best at it, but we didn’t realize there’s a whole other level that we can take it to as far as just our conditioning and then when you do that, your mindset completely changes as well.
Ross: Yes, I’m definitely in better shape now at 31 than I was when I was 21 or 23. Even at the peak of my sport karate training and competition when I was winning a whole lot. I’m in such better shape. I wish I could take my body now and put it back in time and then see what I could really have done. It’s crazy.
Raymond: I feel that 100%.
Ross: We have these opportunities now to do what we’re doing, so let’s keep it rolling.
Raymond: Exactly. At the end of the day, we’re paving the way for the future guys that want to hop on board. For me, that’s what my goal, is just to help it where we create just opportunities for people to know where we come from.
A lot of people don’t respect what we do at times. We’re the ones that get to go out and actually open the doors and let everybody know where we come from and then respect what we do.
Mallory: I think you’re absolutely right on that. Raymond, thank you for being generous with your time. I’m going to mention again, it is on Saturday, May 4th the Bellator MMA premier of Mr. Raymond Daniels. Raymond, I know I’m going to be glued to my television. I asked Emily if she would fly me out, but she was like “Ehhhhhhh.”
Raymond: I’ll look at some of my sponsors. Hit them up, let them know I need some exclusive coverage, get you out there.
Mallory: I always have a great time in England. I love England. We definitely appreciate your time. Thank you again to Colby. This is going to be something awesome. I’m very excited about it.
But, I am a little disappointed. You mean to tell me — I know that Colby’s helping out with your weight management and your food — there’s not going to be a Funyun celebration after the fight is over?
Raymond: There’s always room for that. I bring my shrine, I bring an entire carry-on bag with just my junk food because when I go to these other countries and I compete, they don’t have the goods like we got the goods here in the states. I bring a whole bag.
I’m going to have the Funyuns, I’m going to have the cheese puffs, I’m going to have the donuts, the cookies, and most importantly, the Reese’s Pieces.
Mallory: If you could remember, I’d love to see an Instagram story or at least a picture of the shrine, like, “This is the goal after we’re done after the hard work is done, this is the fun”. I’d love to see that on Instagram.
Raymond: Yes, I’ll definitely make sure I post that.
Mallory: Once again, Raymond, we thank you for your time. Keep training up, keep that camp going really good. I really appreciate it, and I will speak to you soon. We got something in the works with Raymond Daniel, a little tease that we’re working on. We spoke about it in Ireland snow.
Raymond: Don’t put it on the street just yet. Just let it–
Mallory: Just a little tease.
Raymond: A little tease, let’s let them build that. It’s going to be live, so I’m looking forward to it man. It’s going to be a great project.
Mallory: Raymond, thank you very much. Have a good and safe camp. Stay strong, be vigilant, and put on a fantastic show on May 4th.
Ross: Ray, really looking forward to watching you fight man. One of these days, we got to link up, whether I come out there or you come out here and get some training in together. Now since you’re doing Bellator MMA, they may be putting you up here in Mohegan. That’s right in my backyard. I’m really wishing you the best man. I love seeing you do what you do. Let’s get together and train sometime.
Raymond: Yes, for sure man. Good skill to you man. I know I fight the day after you. I’m looking forward to it. You set the tone for the weekend, I’ll follow it, brother.
Ross: Yes sir.
Mallory: There he is, the great Raymond Daniels, thank you so much.