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Darrion Caldwell's career plan: Win Bellator title, defend it 15 times, retire

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Darrion Caldwell has a clear vision for his mixed martial arts future.

First, he's going to defeat Joe Warren on Friday night in the main event of Bellator 151.

Then he'll go on to win the Bellator bantamweight title, whomever goes on to win the bout between the between between champion Marcus Galvao and challenger Eduardo Dantas, whenever it gets rescheduled.

Then he'll go on to defend the belt 15 times.

Then he'll call it a carer.

Simple as that.

"That's the way I figure it," the undefeated Caldwell told "I plan on being with Bellator my whole carer, they've been treating me good. So if I win the title, and I put it on the line 15 times and defend it 15 times, I mean by the point who will be left? I'll have proven everything I needed to prove."

Of course, the fight business is rarely so cut and dried. Fifteen successful title defenses would shatter records for major MMA company title defenses.

But Caldwell is showing the confidence of a future champion as he gets set for his first headlining bout.

"If you don't believe in yourself, what's the point in even being in a sport like this?" Caldwell inquired. "I believe I'm destined to be a champion and I'm not afraid to say it."

If Caldwell seems to have his feet under him, it could be because he finally seems to have settled back in after a period of career instability. The former North Carolina State wrestling standout had left Power MMA in Arizona for Southern California's Pinnacle MMA, where he trained for his Bellator 143 win over Shawn Bunch. But he's back at Power MMA, and this time, he says it's for keeps.

"I have no complaints about Pinnacle," said Caldwell. "But the bottom line is, I come from a wrestler's mentality. You go there, you look into the eyes of someone like Ryan Bader or C.B. Dollaway or Michael Chandler, and you see a wrestler's soul. You see the fire they bring. No one pushes like we push. This is my home from now on."

And that should help Caldwell as he faces one of the competitors with the best wrestling pedigrees in a company full of them in Warren. Warren is a former world Greco-Roman wrestling champion an remains the only Bellator fighter to win titles at multiple weight classes, as a former bantamweight and featherweight champ.

Caldwell admits his open admiration of Warren.

"Look, to fight someone like Joe Warren, that's an honor," Caldwell said. "He's accomplished so much in both wrestling and MMA. And it's not just that, but he's a good dude, too. When I was first coming up, the first time he saw me, he came up and introduced himself to me and told me he knew about who I was, before I even had the chance to go over and say hello to him. That matters."

At the same time, Caldwell knows he's going to have to put his admiration aside for awhile.

"The man is trying to take my jelly beans," Caldwell said. "He's trying to take the steak off my table. He's the roadblock in the way of what I want. I like the guy, but that doesn't mind I won't try to take his head off."

Last time out, Caldwell went viral for the wrong reasons. After submitting Bunch in the opening round, he took out Bellator's camerawoman doing a celebratory backflip off the top of the cage.

While one might think that a man who is planning on winning a title and defending it 15 times might come up with a new celebratory game plan, he maintains the backflip is here to stay.

"I think the lesson everyone needs to take out of that is that y'all better stay out of my way for a good 30 seconds after the fight," Caldwell said, tongue-in-cheek. "The backflip is a part of my game and you're going to see it again after I finish Joe Warren."

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