New Jersey MMA fighter gets ready for big bout at Madison Square Garden

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RAHWAY -

An MMA fighter from Union County is getting ready for a rematch bout this Friday at Madison Square Garden.

Darrion Caldwell returned to his hometown wrestling room in Rahway this week to meet with old friends and to address the next generation of fighters.

A three-time state champion wrestler in Rahway, Caldwell says he was always a gifted athlete. But he says that he never imagined a career in mixed martial arts.

“I didn’t think I was going to be an MMA fighter growing up,” he says. “I thought I would be an Olympic champion one day.”

Some injuries got into the way of that dream. But Caldwell says that he is an entertainer at heart, so this new path was a better fit. His nature was on display after a dramatic national title win in college at North Carolina State. The 31-year-old says that he is now happy with his path in life.

Caldwell will be fighting Kyoji Horiguchi, of Japan, in a rematch on Friday. Caldwell previously lost to him in a match in Japan. He says he is hoping to improve his record to 14-2.

Caldwell says his goal is to one day open a gym so that he can keep working to teach kids how to perform mixed martial arts.

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