Grab your jump rope and prepare to be seriously motivated.
Daniel Morales is a rising star in the MMA world. The Chicago-based fighter is a multi-time amateur champion in kickboxing, Muay Thai, and boxing, and he trains with a DynaPro jump rope. During his rough childhood, a single teacher turned Daniel’s life around with a simple feature in National Geographic magazine. We caught up with him to learn more about that day, his training routine, and where he finds inspiration.
DynaPro Direct: How did you get into fighting? What was your first big win and how did it feel?
Daniel Morales: I feel as though I’ve been fighting my entire life. Directing my energy towards a destructive path as a young kid led me to learn things the “hard way.” However, when I was in the Juvenile Department of Corrections at the age of 17, I met a bible study teacher, Mr. Camp, who was a great mentor. I think we’re all artists in a way and I have always loved to draw and write. Especially while locked in a cell, I always expressed myself with a pencil and a piece of paper.
One day, I asked Mr. Camp to bring a National Geographic magazine so I could draw some pictures from it. I flipped through it and found an article on Mixed Martial Arts in Brazil and saw a picture that sparked an idea that changed my life.
From that moment, I knew what I wanted to do. While in juvenile detention, I told my parents this is what I wanted to do. They supported it as long as it kept me out of trouble.
Only three days after I was released, I received a call to compete in a mixed martial arts exhibition. I said “yes” immediately. From there, doors of opportunities began to open.
DD: Your story is inspirational. Do you have any inspirational quotes that keep your head in the game for fighting?
DM: Yes. These are some of my favorites:
“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” -C.G. Jung
“Only the self-sufficient stand alone – most people follow the crowd and imitate.” -Bruce Lee
“Water cuts through rock, not because of its power but because of its persistence.”-James N. Watkins
“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made of.”-Bruce Lee
DD: Aside from your mental game, your fitness game has to be on point too. You train with a DynaPro jump rope. How much time do you spend jumping rope each day?
DM: I jump rope at least 15 minutes a day. Most fighters use a jump rope. It’s a great way to switch it up from long distance runs. Jumping rope works most of the muscles in your body – your arms, shoulders, core, and legs are all engaged when jumping rope. I highly recommend it.
DD: You said Muhammad Ali never picked up a weight during conditioning and only picked up a jump rope. Why did he do that?
DM: He practiced this way because he would never be able to bring weights into the ring with him. It helped him condition to his famous quote, “Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.”
DD: What upcoming fights do you have?
DM: Everyone always asks me, “When is your next fight?” (laughs). I respond, “Everyday.”
I always get a confused look after that.
I think life gives us daily challenges to grow and push forward. If someone has it easy, they must be comfortable – they must not be growing. As human beings, we’re meant to grow in all levels of life – physical, mental and spiritual. When new challenges present themselves, I don’t ask, “Why me?” I say, “Try me.”
To actually answer your question, Glory World Series is returning to Chicago Friday, February 24th. It’s the greatest kickboxing organization in the world and the matchmaker always does a great job, so there are never any easy fights. You face the best of the best. You can catch it on UFC Fight Pass at 7pm CT.