At Bellator 222, Bellator Bantamweight Champion Darrion Caldwell is out for revenge.
On New Year's Eve, Caldwell suffered just the 2nd defeat of his career, being submitted by Kyoji Horiguchi at Rizin 14. The only other time Caldwell lost, he avenged his defeat immediately, outpointing Joe Taimanglo on the 2nd attempt. When asked about that feat by Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp, Caldwell's explanation was simple.
“Well, I just hate losing you know? I don’t like to lose and so, if ever I lose, I have to avenge that loss . . . It’s just about the warrior spirit you know? I’m a competitor so whenever I lose I just gotta get it back.”
An all champion affair, Caldwell's fight with Horiguchi was an enticing case of Bellator vs. Rizin. Considering that, 'The Wolf' wasn't exactly expecting the matchup but still reflects fondly upon the overall experience. “I was surprised. I was shocked but it’s not like Bellator hasn’t sent guys over. They’ve done it with King Mo and other guys also. It was shocking when they mentioned me but when I heard about the opportunity, I jumped all on it. I hit Scott Coker up and let him know that’s something I’m interested in so let’s try to make it happen," he recalled.
"It was a good experience. I didn’t get the results that I wanted but it was a good experience.”
While Caldwell's focus is currently firmly on the Horiguchi rematch, his future beyond that is slightly less clear. Within MMA, Caldwell is far from committed to simply staying within just one weight class. In regards to a potential move up to Featherweight, the Bellator's titleholder sees success regardless of division. “My future is just as a champion. I’m a champion. Honestly, I think my future is gonna be (1)45 as well as (1)35 because I just feel I’m the best (1)45 pounder in the world as well.”
Caldwell isn't limiting his options just to the MMA arena either, pondering a transition to professional wrestling after being asked about any prior recruitment. Though he confirmed that his amateur pedigree never led him in that direction, Caldwell confirmed interest in a move nonetheless. “Absolutely. I can do back-flips and all kinds of s**t you know? I think with my acrobatic background, I think I fit right in over there.
“I’m the most athletic, most talented wrestler out there.”
Caldwell's rematch with Horiguchi takes place at Madison Square Garden on June 14th. The event, Bellator 222, is headlined by Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie while Chael Sonnen vs. Lyoto Machida takes co-main event billing.
For Fightful's full interview with Caldwell, check out the video above.