Daniel Straus isn't one to rest on his laurels.
A 12-fight win streak? Not impressive. Making a name for himself fighting in front of a national TV audience? Not enough.
"There's so much more than I can accomplish and there's so much more that I can prove to people," Straus said Thursday on Bloody Elbow Radio. "I feel like it's still just the beginning for me. If I'm ever satisfied with what I'm doing, then I'll never get any better. I'm happy with what I'm doing, I pleased that people are starting to notice me, but I can always step my game up a little bit more and I can always do a little bit better and I can always push a little bit harder, so I'm just going to keep that in mind. One day, eventually, I'll be in a position where I feel like I've made it."
Straus is on the rise and during that 12-fight win streak, he's knocked off Zuffa veterans Gideon Ray, Joe Pearson and Karen Darabedyan. Despite having one of the longer active win streaks in the sport, this current run he's on is just water under the bridge, he says.
"To me, it's not that impressive," Straus said. "Twelve straight wins, to some it can be impressive, but to me, it's really not. Like I said before, you can lose at anytime, so having 12 straight doesn't mean anything. It's about the next fight and the fight you're in. If you win 100 straight fights and you're biggest fight is number 101 and you lose that fight, what does it mean? Those 100 fights didn't mean anything. It's all about what I'm in and the fight I'm in right now."
Heading into the biggest fight of his career with Freire, the Bellator Season 2 featherweight tournament runner-up, Straus says he is comfortable, calm and doesn't try to get too hyped up while at the same time admitting there's a lot of excitement because this is the biggest fight of his career.
He's earned this fight with the very dangerous Freire, who has won his two tournament bouts by third-round knockout, by besting Nazareno Malegarie by decision and Kenny Foster by submission. When asked what he's seen out of Freire this tournament, Straus was quick to reply with one word: Excellence.
"He's a very good striker, obviously very good on the ground," Straus said. "He has a lot of power and he's real game. My goal is to take it to him. I don't think a lot of people go after him as much as I can go after him."
One area where Straus thinks he has a big advantage is wrestling ("I can put him on his back whenever I feel like it," he says). But he's not only confident there.
"I think I have superior wrestling and whether I've been able to show it yet or not, I feel like I have superior striking and am just as well in my jiu-jitsu," Straus said. "It may not be superior, but I feel like I can at least stop his. At every point in this game, everyone feels like they're better than the next, but I think at least I can match him at everything. And if I can do that, I think I can out-heart him and out-grudge him a little bit over the edge to win the fight."
You can hear the entire interview with Straus, plus a preview of Bellator 45 on Thursday's edition of Bloody Elbow Radio.