Bellator MMA has added a former NCAA wrestling champion to the featherweight division, announcing the signing of Darrion Caldwell.
A two-time NCAA All-American, Caldwell is 3-0 and expected to compete for the promotion in 2014 before entering the featherweight tournament.
“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.”
Caldwell competed at North Carolina State University in college. He battled back from a serious shoulder injury that cost him part of his senior season.
“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. James 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.”
Caldwell currently trains in Arizona at Power MMA with Ryan Bader, CB Dollaway and others.
“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.