Daniel Straus has been through the grind and rigors of a Bellator tournament. He’s seen the end result, winning the featherweight title in 2013 with a decision victory over Pat Curran.
Now, following a March loss to Curran for the belt, Straus is hopeful that the new regime in charge still believes he is a worthy contender.
“I was promised that I’d get the next title shot after (Patricio) Pitbull, but lately, there’s been some big changes with Bellator, so we’ll have to sit down and see what’s going on,” said Straus, during a recent interview with FightLine. “I don’t think I’ll be fighting until fall would be my guess.”
Scott Coker, who was formerly in charge of Strikeforce, has replaced Bjorn Rebney in the front office. Coker moved quickly to stop the current tournament format for crowning champions, saying that system would only be used when it was needed.
That means fighters like Straus can take advantage of opportunities presented to them and compete in more marquee fights moving forward.
“I think I’ve always put on good fights and don’t feel like the tournament is for me anymore,” he said. “I’ll take any fight to get back to the title, but am hoping I get the next shot – as promised.”
Curran is injured, which scrapped a planned June fight with Pitbull for the belt. That fight has yet to be rescheduled, leaving the rest of the division to wait.
Straus fought Pitbull back in 2011, losing via decision in the season four tournament final. He put together a five-fight win streak to gain a shot at Curran, earning both revenge and the championship. The two first fought in 2009 on the regional circuit, with Curran scoring a second round knockout.
In the third – and most recent – encounter, the end result was in question heading into the fifth. Curran, though, locked up a rear-naked choke and scored the submission, winning back the title.
“Headed to the fifth, I thought it was gonna be close,” Straus said. “But in my head, I had it 2-2 (in terms of rounds).”
As someone who has been involved in MMA professionally since 2009, Straus still sees one area that needs improvement.
“The biggest disappointment (for me in the sport) would have to still be the judging at times,” he said. “I think this has been around long enough that most judges should know what’s going on, yet, they still make bad decisions such as (Diego) Sanchez vs. (Ross) Pearson.
“The biggest improvement I would have to say is the overall evolution of the sport and how it’s gotten more main stream.”
Straus, a standout high school wrestler in Ohio, owns three knockout and five submission wins to his credit, sporting an overall record of 22-5.
Front-Page Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea