Alexander eyes redemption in title fight

Daniel Alexander spars with Jay Russell at Ross Martial Arts during preparations for his upcoming match.

Daniel Alexander will step into the cage for his sixth professional fight Friday night when he travels to Pensacola, Fla. to challenge for the Featherweight Title in the Island Fights promotion.

Alexander, a Thomaston native and mixed martial arts competitor with designs on ultimately going pro, has amassed a 4-1 record between fights in Alabama and Mississippi.

His last bout came July 7 in Tuscaloosa where he suffered his lone defeat at the hands – and knees – of Kobe Wall in a fight that crowned the first Strike Hard Productions Lightweight Champion.

“He was a Muay Thai Fighter. He got a Muay Thai clinch and was throwing the knees. I had not trained it and was nervous. I already had it in my head he was probably the better man,” Alexander said of what led to his downfall against Wall. “It made me a lot more determined. Although I knew my family and friends still had respect for me, I felt humiliated. I felt like a let a lot of people down.”

Following the loss, Alexander – nicknamed War Machine – went back to work, seeking to solidify the weaknesses that plagued him in his lone MMA loss.

“Naturally, I went straight to Mobile and started working some Muay Thai defense with a gym called Port City MMA,” Alexander, who makes Ross Martial Arts of Demopolis his home gym, said.

As he prepares for his Friday night rendezvous with Brandon Jenkins for the Featherweight crown, Alexander said his success will likely be determined before he ever sets foot in the cage.

“I was pretty nervous about (the fight against Wall). I think I let it get in my head and intimidate me a little bit,” Alexander said, pointing to a psychological disadvantage that served to drain much of his focus and aggression leading into his last fight. “I think the key is I need to get a better warm-up in the back. I need to get myself more hyped up. That’s one thing we’ve been working on is making me flip the switch earlier and getting more aggressive, taking control of the fight earlier.”

Alexander will drop from the 155-pound weight class to 145 for his fight against Jenkins, returning to the weight where he found much of his early success in the cage.

The bout comes just one week after Alexander had been scheduled to fight for Strike Hard in a Birmingham production that never took place.

“I was happy to do it. It is kind of rare to get two title shots in one year,” Alexander said of his decision to take the fight on short notice. “I felt like it was a chance to redeem myself and to get the belt I wanted to get.”