About Danny: "For some, training in the martial arts is a hobby but for Daniel Chacon, it's a lifestyle. Daniel’s martial arts training history began seven years ago, when he sought out an intense competitive sport. Danny has learned several fighting styles, from striking to grappling, under the tutelage of great trainers and masters. Danny boasts an amateur MMA record of 5-1-1 and is 1-0 as a professional. He is also 4-1 in Thai Boxing matches and owns a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. You can train with Danny at the BETA Academy, located in NW Washington D.C."
This is the second of a two part interview featuring Danny. Read part one.
Editor's note: This an updated version of the interview that originally ran on Wednesday.
How long is your training camp before a fight? What is your training schedule during camp? Please be specific!
First it’s about planning and gathering my resources. Properly planning my training camp is a must; this builds confidence and most importantly a routine. Also each training session needs to have a purpose or a goal.
A typical training camp is four to six weeks. Each week I train twice a day for six days; the last day is recovery.
Every day I’m grappling, either live rolling (aka wrestling) or drilling specific positions.
Strength and conditioning training sessions are about three times a week. I usually reach out to expert coaches in this area. I trust them so they suggest and I do, that’s pretty much how it works out. There is typically a lot of leg work like jump rope, box jumps, power squats and hill sprints. I work a lot with kettlebells too and resistance bands for core and mobility.
Full contact MMA sparring is twice a week. I recruit sparring partners from a very talented pool of fighters we have and do as many rounds as possible. This is the hardest part because your body gets consistently beaten up and the chance of a serious injury is always there.
How much of a weight cut do you normally have to make? Tell us about your training camp diet.
I usually cut 15-20 pounds within the time length of camp. I feel it’s one of the hardest parts because you can be in the best shape of your life but if you can’t make your weight class, the fight might be off. The weight part is definitely more mental for me because of the stress it causes.
How to combat this stress? It’s simple—having the correct diet. I stay away from sugar and wheat and drink a lot of water, close to a gallon a day. I also stick to organic and nutritious meats and veggies. Along with that I have healthy snacks throughout the day and a few supplements.
Do you do a lot of opponent specific preparation? Or is it about the same no matter who you are fighting?
Yes, I do specific preparation; it just depends on my opponent and their area of strength. My team and I focus on how to make my opponent play into my style and strengths.
Tell us about the sacrifices you make when prepping for a fight. What is the hardest aspect of training camp?
There has to be sacrifices—anything that’s worth something must be difficult. Everyday waking up and thinking if you’ve done enough and if not what are you going to do about it is the hardest part. Fighting is a lot more mental than physical and I sometimes go through an emotional rollercoaster.
One thing that motivates me through camp is my remembering where I came from and my purpose. I came to the United States at very young age as an undocumented immigrant. My childhood was very difficult in the U.S and as I grew older, things didn’t get easier; there were so many challenges. I felt like I didn’t have the same opportunities as others did and as a result I didn’t have a lot of hope for the future.
I went through some troubling times but I used them as motivation and it fueled me to do my best. Currently I’m in a better situation and here legally, so now I seek to use my experiences to help others in similar situations and show them what’s possible.
One thing that many people new to the sport don't understand is the importance of training with a team. Tell us about where you train and what makes your team special?
Training with a team is essential. I believe the best way to put it ”iron sharpens iron.” By training and surrounding yourself with talented positive individuals, it’ll just push you to do your best plain and simple.
My team trains at BETA Academy in Washington D.C. I can’t express how fortunate I am to have a pool of national and world champions around me. BETA has brought up many champions in diverse areas—thai-boxing, Brazilian jiu jitsu, wrestling, and mixed martial arts.
My family is another team that I could not live without. All of my family members are always supporting me and motivating to do my best.
When is your next fight? Who is it against?
Not sure just yet, I’m still recovering from a torn LCL “lateral collateral ligament.” It’s going well so I’m looking early fall to be back in action. I’ve already contacted a few top shows in the east coast and they all look like great opportunities.
Check out a highlight reel of Danny in action
You can train with Danny at the Beta Academy, which is located on the corner of 14th Street and Florida Ave, NW. He teaches Thai Boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes several days a week.