By: Nick Portella
What’s good fight fans? Today I had the chance to catch up with MMA fighter and Jiu-Jitsu specialist Daniel Maira. I was lucky enough to talk with him at his home gym MPR Endurance in Langhorne, PA owned and operated by Erik Purcell. Let’s have a seat with Daniel and talk about his upcoming plans and his expected return to the MMA cage.
Nick: At what age did you begin to train martial arts? What discipline did you start with?
Daniel: I started at the age of 21 years old training Jiu Jitsu.
Nick: What disciplines do you currently train and what belts do you have in them?
Daniel: Jiu Jitsu purple belt under Sergio Pena, wrestling, MMA striking, Muay Thai, and Russian Sambo all at my home gym.
Nick: How long have you been with MPR Endurance? How many hours do you train per week?
Daniel: I have been training here since day 1. I walked in to start training and decided as a white belt that this would be my career. I probably spend 6 or 7 hours a day training to reach my goal.
Nick: While training roughly 56 hours per week and being a trainer at the gym how hard is it to balance regular life and combat sports?
Daniel: I don’t really have a regular life. My life is all training. I look at the best in the world and stay at a level to be on par with them. Combat sports is my regular life.
Nick: While traveling all over the world to train, where have you been?
Daniel: I have trained all over the country. I have also trained in Barcelona with the top black belt in Spain for a few months.
Nick: You have an MMA record of 1-0 fighting under the CFFC promotion. You won your fight via first round armbar. What made you decide to pursue Jiu Jitsu before getting back into the cage?
Daniel: I started with Jiu-Jitsu and MMA was the next progression to put it to the test. With all the striking training I had done I wanted to see where I stood. I went into the cage won my fight and got back to my ground game.
Nick: What would you say your best attribute is inside the cage?
Daniel: I would say my mindset is that of a professional caliber. I am able to react and adjust to what is happening in front of me. I learn very quickly even during the fight on the fly. I analyze and adjust in real time to figure out how to win the match.
Nick: I am aware that you will be leaving for Worlds in Jiu Jitsu in the near future. Where will you be traveling and competing?
Daniel: I will be in Long Beach, CA for the IBJJF championships. It is the most prestigious and biggest Jiu-Jitsu tournament in the world. Practitioners come in from every corner of the Earth to claim the title.
Nick: Being a student of the ground game what is your favorite submission?
Daniel: I would have to say that it has to be a cross collar choke. There is a really good feeling in putting them into a situation where it is your whole body versus their fingers and neck.
Nick: With cutting weight and fighter safety always being a priority. What methods of cutting weight do you use? How much weight do you usually have to cut before a match? Do you feel the weight cut has a major impact on your strength before a match?
Daniel: I diet well in advance and a light water load. I will only cut five to ten pounds of water and don’t allow myself to have to cut more. It definitely does have some effect on your strength. That is why I stay healthy year round.
Nick: Most fighters at some point are branded with a nickname. Do you have one currently? If so what is it and who gave it to you?
Daniel: They to call me Freestyle. The guys at MPR gave it to me. I think it started from my soccer games traveling around for Nike and Redbull doing freestyle tricks.
Nick: When can we expect to see you step back into the cage?
Daniel: I plan on getting back into MMA later in the year. I want to compete at World’s and Boston Open first.
Nick: With all of your training and competing what is the ultimate goal for you?
Daniel: I want to be the best American black belt world champion in jiu-jitsu.
Nick: Who is your favorite MMA fighter past or present?
Daniel: I have three. When I’m striking I pretend to be Dominic Cruz. When I hit the mats it’s Demian Maia. Jose Aldo is my third because of the sacrifices he has made to get where he is.
Nick: Daniel have you submitted to the takeover?
Daniel: This is Daniel “Freestyle” Maira and I have submitted to the takeover.
Daniel also would like to thank Erik Purcell and his family at MPR Endurance for taking him in and letting him train to his level. He would also like to thank Sergio Calderon and the CFC family. Special thanks to his mother Merilee Maira for supporting him through his journey.
It was a pleasure to speak with Daniel on his home turf. I want to wish him well in the World’s and hope he brings back the title he has trained so hard for. I also anticipate his return to the cage as does his followers. Follow him on Instagram @dannyfreesty1e to keep up to date with everything he is doing. Signing off for TheMMATakeOver.com this is Nick Portella. @NickPortellaMMA