When it comes to his 2018, heavyweight Daniel James was admittedly at a low point before he rebounded and got back on track.
Following an extended period of time off to focus on an unfruitful run at The Ultimate Fighter, James returned to action in September and picked up a second-round TKO of Calyn Hull at LFA 50 to close out his year in strong fashion.
“It was a point in my career where I was wondering about the next step,” James told MMAWeekly.com. “I’ve been doing fights and I was getting a little frustrated. The summertime was a changing point for me.
“I went to the TUF tryouts and I did well, then I had a situation where I couldn’t go, and it kind of put me into a depressed state. My management said I was going to sign with the LFA and try to take that road to the UFC.”
Focused on his task at hand, James was able to put together the kind of performance he predicted he would against Hull to secure his first win in a year and a half.
“I was supposed to be the underdog (against Hull) and that’s okay, I’m always the underdog until I get my hands on somebody,” said James. “I got in there and got the job done.
“I knew where my game was at before the fight. I knew what I was going to do. I knew if the fight went to the ground I was going to get a submission. I knew if stayed up top and I landed something with my combinations I was going to drop him.”
At LFA 67 on Friday in Branson, Missouri, James (8-3-1) will look to pick up his second win in a row when he faces Patrick Martin (7-4) in the heavyweight main event.
“It’s the heavyweight game: no matter how much Jiu-Jitsu you know, how good you can box or strike, you’ve got to keep your hands up,” James said. “To keep the fight standing, it’s in my game plan, either I’m going to land a left hook or a straight cross or a massive body kick.
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“Whichever way it goes, I leave it all out in the cage. I’m coming out of this fight unanimously victorious and ready to move on to the next step.”
With his sights set on the biggest stage of MMA, James is seeking to make waves in 2019, starting with his bout versus Martin at LFA 67.
“I’m trying to make some big things happen,” said James. “I just want to get out there and show what I can do and be a favorite. Being on the LFA gives me a rise and puts my career back up more.
“I go in and train and sacrifice and never lose sight of what I’m doing with MMA. I feel it’s time for me right now to make an impact on the sport and give people something to see that’s exciting.”