Best male Bellator fighter: Daniel Straus
One of the faces of Bellator and its featherweight division for the last decade, Daniel Straus was a highly accomplished wrestler in high school, but he frequently got into trouble and was jailed for four years. Upon his release, he was introduced to MMA and made his professional debut in February 2009.
Straus made his first Bellator appearance at Bellator 23 in June 2010, defeating Chad Hinton by unanimous decision, then took part in the season four featherweight tournament, losing to Patricio “Pitbull” Freire in the final. Straus returned for the season six tournament and won it, but a broken hand prevented him from challenging for the Bellator featherweight championship. Straus eventually got his chance at Bellator 106, defeating Pat Curran to win the title. Straus, however, dropped the belt back to Curran in a rematch at Bellator 112.
Straus went on to face Patricio Freire three more times, all in featherweight title fights. Straus was submitted by Patricio Freire at Bellator 132 but finally scored a win and became a two-time champ at Bellator 145. After a year-and-a-half away from the cage, Straus and Patricio “Pitbull” faced off one more time at Bellator 178, with Freire gaining the belt back.
Two months after losing to Emmanuel Sanchez at Bellator 184, Straus was involved in a motorcycle crash that left him paralyzed. Straus would end up able to walk again without assistance eight months later and decided to continue his MMA career, stopping Shane Kruchten at Bellator 219 in his return.
- Thomas Albano