Raymond Daniels moved swiftly through the air at GLORY 16, almost effortlessly, yet it was as if he was suspended in mid-flight like time had somehow stopped.
The left foot of "Real Deal" hadn't yet come off of his opponent's chest as he ascended into a twisting motion. And once the side kick, spin-side kick found its mark on Francois Ambang's chin, the Cameroonian dropped like a stone and the crowd on hand inside 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colo., erupted in excitement ... and utter disbelief.
It was simply one of the greatest knockouts (watch it here) in combat sports history.
At GLORY 19 tomorrow night (Fri., Feb. 6, 2015) in Hampton, Va., the California native will look to carry that momentum into the night's four-man, welterweight tournament. And he's been champing at the bit to do so for the last nine months.
"I've been patiently waiting to get back in the ring," Daniels recently told MMAmania.com. "I've been a little bit anxious, you know what I mean? I don't like to be off for too long. I've been taking it all in and enjoying it. Spending time with my family and friends and looking forward to getting back in the ring."
Daniels, 34, has also continued working with Muay Thai coach Tyler Wombles, who began working with him prior to his GLORY 16 fight against Ambang. Wombles was brought in to help Daniels shore up several facets of his overall game after the first loss of his career, a knockout defeat to current champion Joseph Valtellini at GLORY 13: "Tokyo."
"Oh yeah," he said. "I've been continuing to improve on my Muay Thai game and my kickboxing skills, as well as practicing my martial arts skills on a daily basis. It's a huge part of my life and it is something I continue to do whether I am active or not."
The sport-karate champion will face the No.6-ranked welterweight, Jonatan Oliveira in the semifinals of the tournament. Daniels has done his homework on the Brazilian fighter and he is "feeling good" about the match up.
"I checked out some footage on him with my coaches," said Daniels, who is now 3-1 in GLORY. "He likes to come forward and tries to stalk his fighters. He shoots a lot of hands and has more of like a boxing background. I'm looking forward to getting in there and mixing it up with him.
"I've definitely been checking him out. He's got a lot of hands and a Dutch style with his leg kicks and I'm definitely prepared for that. His style is definitely text book for the style I fight and for me to be able to do all the things I like to and I enjoy doing and the fans like to see. I'm looking forward to putting on a great show for everybody."
Don't expect the high-flying Daniels to be fighting conservatively just to save energy in the semifinals. "That creates handicaps," he says. The No. 7-ranked GLORY welterweight could potentially face Nieky Holzken or Alexsandr Stetcurenko should he win his semifinal match up, but he is focused on Jonatan Oliveira first and foremost.
"You go out and you take it one fight at a time," said Daniels, who runs a martial arts school called, "World Championship Karate" in Orange, Calif., teaching seminars all around the world. "I like to say I take it 10 seconds at a time. As long as I win each 10 seconds of each minute of each round then I win every fight.
I'm not really looking on to my second opponent or anything like that. I'll get through my first one and then whoever comes out of the other bracket is who I will face right after that. After I get past Jonatan Oliveira, I'm prepared to fight either one of those guys. I've definitely studied tape on them and I know what they like to come with and the styles they like to fight."
Daniels said he has a "few more tricks up his sleeve" that can compete with the crazy technique he used to knockout Ambang at GLORY 16. He is happy to return to Spike TV and looks forward to the viewers having the opportunity to see what he is fully capable of inside the GLORY ring.
"When the moment and opportunity presents itself I will put it out there for the world to see," Daniels said. "That is for sure."
Is he putting a lot of pressure on himself to outdo the last knockout?
"No, it doesn't put too much pressure on me," he explained. "I know what I am capable of. What it does is it messes with other people's minds. It makes them have the thought of 'I'm satisfied with possible losing to this guy as long as he doesn't put me on the highlight reel.
"For me, that is exactly what I want my opponent to be happy with: taking a loss to me by just not wanting to become part of my highlight reel. I try to look at it from a different perspective as opposed to me being pressured to come out and do that again. I'm just going to come out and fight my fight."
Many fighters dread having to compete in a one-night tournament, but Daniels only sees it as a positive and is relishing in the thought of giving the fans in Hampton -- and the viewers on Spike TV -- a double-dip of his unique and unorthodox fight style.
"I'm actually looking forward to doing two fights in one night because it gives the world the opportunity to see me not once, but twice, in one night."