Just two months ago at the King of the Cage (KOTC) "Coming Home" event in San Jacinto, California, the impressive featherweight prospect Henry Corrales ran his undefeated streak to 12-0 with a second-round knockout of Aaron Neveu in the co-main event.
That was all Rich Chou and Scott Coker needed to see. Corrales was given an offer few fighters get in their promotional debut: he'll have his first fight for Bellator MMA on live TV at one of the biggest events of the summer.
On June 19, 2015 inside the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri, his undefeated record will be put on the line as Corrales faces former featherweight champion Daniel Straus, who is looking to rebound from a tough loss to Patricio Freire.
Coincidentally, that was the same show where it was announced that Kimbo Slice had signed with Bellator, who fights Ken Shamrock in the night's main event.
Corrales recently talked to MMAmania.com about this huge opportunity for him to not only fight a former champion, but to also do it on a card almost guaranteed to draw big numbers on Spike TV.
"Yeah, I'm excited man, it's a big fight and it's everything that I dreamed of in my career. I'm looking forward to it."
Corrales had never taken a fight outside of his native California before Bellator called to offer this opportunity to him.
"So I was like 'Let's go! Let's do it!' I had a good meeting with them, and expressed to them that I want big fights, and they were obviously willing to hook me up with what I wanted."
There's little doubt Corrales is thrilled to take a fight against Straus. During our interview, he constantly stated that he was pumped, excited, motivated, and other words that end in -ed. When I asked him about his walk-around weight, he was eager and willing to point out he wouldn't miss the featherweight limit.
"I feel great, you know? I'm pretty much in shape year 'round. I take care of myself. I don't got bad habits, I don't drink, so I'm always in shape, keeping my diet on point, so I'm just ready to go, man. I'm walking around at (1)65, the heaviest I'll ever get is closer to '70, but it's not much of a tough cut for the last couple of pounds of water."
It may not be a "tough cut" for Corrales, but it does merit consideration to think that he's a natural welterweight at 5'9" before getting ready for a fight, which means he's both very lean and very muscular for the weight class. At 23-6, the former champ Straus is not a man he takes lightly.
"I'm trying to put hands on him, I'm trying to finish the fight standing. That's really my biggest interest right now in this sport."
And while Corrales isn't looking past Straus in any way, his aspirations for success in Bellator are high and he can see current champion Patricio "Pitfull" Freire in his future.
"Just like any other opponent, I'm the aggressor. I'll be coming forward, I'll exchange with (Freire). That's just the way it is with anyone I fight, it doesn't matter who it is. He's a tough dude, but you know who's just as tough as him? Daniel Straus. From what I've seen, he could have easily still been the champ, but there are some little mistakes that are made in there that can cost you the fight. Dude's tough, man."
He'll give Henry Corrales everything he wants and more on June 19th in St. Louis. The complete audio of our interview with Corrales is below, and MMAmania.com will bring you full fight coverage all week long.