If you have ever watched a video interview or seen cageside pictures on mmaViking.com, you have seen Daniel Schälander‘s work.  As a contributor to the website for over 5 years, one of the youngest UFC credentialed media members and including coverage in 9 countries, the decorated grappler is ready to make a name for himself in front of the camera as he represents Sweden  at the 2016 IMMAF World Championships at UFC International Fight Week starting tomorrow.  The Allstars Training Center fighter isn’t going to take part, he is aiming for gold.  MMAViking.com talks to the 21 year old just a day before as he makes final preprations.


How did you get interested in MMA and fight sports.
I’ve always been active and trained everything from Floor Ball to Ice Hockey. Never any individual sports though. I played soccer for 10 years until I was 15, and after I quit I needed to fill out that time with something. So there was this local dojo (SKIFT – Sollentuna Kampidrotssförening) quite close to where I lived and you’d always see these kids with gi’s on outside of it waiting for rides home after the classes. So I did some googling and saw that they were just about to open up a new BJJ class, so I signed up for that and was totally hooked after the first class.

Then one guy in my class told me about this legendary Russian fighter called Fedor and told me to check out this affliction card (when he fought Arlovski). So I did and that was the first MMA event I ever saw. And it just snowballed after that and I watched all the UFC and PRIDE events and started training MMA parallel to my BJJ training after a few months. Then after about a year I went to my first ever MMA show, Superior Challenge 5 and saw guys like Jycken, Nico Musoke, Reza Madadi and many more for the first time and it was such an awesome event. I never could have thought then that I’d end up training alongside many of them a few years down the line.

Daniel with a takedown at Fight Night Finland in Turku versus Max Sairanen

You are probably the youngest credentialed photographers by the UFC, will your media experience help your fighting?
Yeah, it’s been quite a few years and events together under the Viking banner. I feel it helps me a lot to have been engulfed in the “fight night atmosphere” so many times. It feels like home and very familiar everytime I arrive to a competition. I’m sure I’ve been to far more MMA events than many pro fighters even and that gives me a huge edge when it comes to controlling fight night nerves.

Daniel Meets His Heroes Mauro and Steven back in 2012

You finally lost, how will this impact your approach at IMMAF?
I learnt a few lessons and I think the biggest thing I took away is to manage the weight cut better so that it won’t affect my performance on fight night. Since we weigh in on the same day and just a few hours before we step in the cage you need to adjust your cut accordingly. So for the IMMAF world championships I’ve been cutting weight steadily over a much longer period eating healthy without starving myself. My girlfriend who’s a nutrition advisor has been a huge help in this. So I was already on weight and feeling fresh 3 days before the first fight. This will definitely show when I get in the cage on Tuesday.

Ready to go in Las Vegas for IMMAF World Championships

You train alongside Reza, Alex, Niklas, and all the other top fighters at Allstars. How will this help you?
First and foremost it’s a huge learning experience sharing the mats and getting punched in the face by all of these guys. If you want to soar with the eagles you can’t fly with the crows. It’s hard to find a team of this quality anywhere else in Europe, plus there are plenty of guys around my weight. The second thing is that I can see first hand what it takes to make it in the big leagues and that lets me know that I’m on the right path in my career.


I want to thank everyone coach and teammate who’s helped me along the way. My girlfriend who supports me everyday. it’s not always easy being together with a fighter. And a huge shout out to my sponsors OMPU who’s been providing me with quality gear since my first amateur fight. Kami Sport and Bad Boy for supporting the Swedish National Team. Key Nutrition who keeps my body fueled with the best supplements on the market. Safari Biltong for their awesome beef protein snacks. And of course MMAViking for being a part of my lives journey for 5 years and many more to come.

You can follow Daniel on his HL Facebook page here and Instagram here.  Good luck this week!!!