Bellator has once again signed one of the hottest prospects in MMA as former NCAA Champion and 2x All American Darrion Caldwell has signed a long term promotional agreement with Bellator. Only 25, the 3-0 featherweight will be featured throughout 2014 before entering The Toughest Tournament In Sports.
“Everything just really fell into place for me to sign with a prestigious organization like Bellator. I’m really embracing this opportunity,” Caldwell said. “During our talks, the tournament format is something I thought about a lot, and that’s what I always grew up with being a Division I wrestler. I’m used to looking at a bracket and seeing my name against another fighter, so I’m absolutely looking forward to my first tournament run.”
“Darrion’s a tremendous addition to our stacked 145 pound division,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “Similar to what we’ve done with other top prospects, Darrion will be brought along slowly and given time to develop before facing many of the best featherweights in the world in our tournament. The sky is the limit for Darrion.”
A bona fide superstar during his run at NC State, the former NCAA Wrestling Champion steamrolled through some of the sports best, including Brent Metcalf, Josh Cherulla and current Bellator featherweight Des Green. A severe shoulder dislocation sidelined Caldwell during his senior year, and began to affect Caldwell both physically and mentally. It wasn’t until a 2011 visit to world-renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews changed the future for the promising Caldwell.
“My shoulder injury really affected my college career, mentally more than anything I just wasn’t there, and it really started to take a toll,” Caldwell said. “I suffered two serious dislocations in my left shoulder, and I knew I had to do something. Once I saw Dr. Andrews, the shoulder is stronger than ever, and to have that off my mind has been a huge weight lifted off of me. I haven’t looked back since.”
Training at Power MMA alongside Ryan Bader, C.B. Dollaway and Seth Baczynski, Caldwell finds himself in good company. While MMA is still new to the wrestling phenom, “The Wolf” is eager to show his new fans how his game has developed.
“I think after my first fight with Bellator, people are really going to see a well-rounded mixed martial artist, no one is going to say that I’m just another wrestler coming into MMA, that’s just not my game,” Caldwell said. “I only have one goal, and that’s to become Champion. Whether that happens short term or in the future, that is the ultimate goal, and really the only goal. I feel like right now I’m ready to battle with the best of them, but at the same time, I have complete trust in the Bellator team to put me in the best position to succeed, and reach my full potential inside the Bellator cage.