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

Posted: Updated:
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.

  • New Jersey SlideshowsGalleriesMore>>

  • Your Oct. 16 storm photos

    Your Oct. 16 storm photos

    Storm photos Oct. 17Storm photos Oct. 17
    Storm photos Oct. 17Storm photos Oct. 17
    Heavy right and high winds swept through the tri-state area due to a large coast storm on the night of Oct. 16. Here are your photos from the storm.
    Heavy right and high winds swept through the tri-state area due to a large coast storm on the night of Oct. 16. Here are your photos from the storm.
  • Yankees in the 2019 Playoffs

    Yankees in the 2019 Playoffs

    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.
    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.
    Photos on the field of the New York Yankees in the 2019 American League Division Series vs. the Minnesota Twins.
    Photos on the field of the New York Yankees in the 2019 American League Division Series vs. the Minnesota Twins.
  • Guide: New Jersey Breweries

    Guide: New Jersey Breweries

    Looking to check out brewery this summer? There are many breweries across the state for beer-lovers to visit. Check out our list for breweries in your area. 

    Looking to check out brewery this summer? There are many breweries across the state for beer-lovers to visit. Check out our list for breweries in your area. 

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."