Eduardo Dantas recaptured the Bellator bantamweight championship with a dominant victory over Marcos Galvao in June, and tonight’s Bellator event Mulvane might determine who’s next in line for a shot at the gold.
Headlining Bellator 159 at the Kansas Star Arena, Darrion Caldwell puts his undefeated record on the line against Joe Taimanglo, and Dantas expects to fight the winner of this fight sometime later this year.
"It will be Darrion Caldwell or Joe Taimanglo," Dantas told MMA Fighting. "After this fight, we’ll have an exact date for my return. I believe I’ll be fighting in October or November. My plan is to fight as soon as possible. I’m anxious. I have no injuries, I’m back to training already. The sooner, the better. I’m the best in the world at Bellator. I know that I will be able to conquer everything I want."
Unbeaten in six Bellator bouts, Caldwell is a huge betting favorite against Taimanglo, but Dantas promises to "run through" whoever gets in the cage with him next.
"Caldwell is a good wrestler and is trading more now, but he never fought someone like me," Dantas said. "If he’s next, great, but (Taimanglo) is also a tough fighter with heavy hands. Whoever comes, I’ll run through. I’m hungry. I’m fixing my mistakes every day. I’m a different ‘Dudu’ now, and I can’t way to prove it. I will run through anyone that is in front of me."
While he doesn’t have a date to return to action, Dantas is giving back to the community in Rio de Janeiro. The Bellator champion decided to help 2015 APB Pro Junior World Tour champion Socrates Santana, paying his travel expenses.
"I’ve been following Socrates for a while, and he’s awesome," Dantas said. "We live in the same state, in this beautiful city that unfortunately doesn’t encourage sports, especially someone that comes from a poor community like both of us. You go through a lot of things to become an athlete. I’m happy that I was able to help him, that he travelled and is now No. 1 in the rankings. He has everything to become champion again. He’s only 17 and had no one supporting him, so I’m happy to be able to help in a way."
Dantas also came from the slums in Rio de Janeiro to become champion in Bellator, and hopes that one day Brazilian politicians will support promising athletes.
"I look at him and remember of myself going to Japan to fight for the first time, full of dreams in my mind," Dantas said. "We’re upset because the government doesn’t invest in the communities. There are a lot of talents there, but they only care about us during the elections."