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UFC Fighter – Welterweight
From starting life on a council estate in South London to competing in the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, in front of 20,000 passionate fans and millions more around the globe – Danny "Hot Chocolate" Roberts is not only a truly inspiring athlete but one of the UK’s best ever MMA fighters. Facing discrimination in his youth, Danny turned to a local boxing gym and his fighting career took off from there. Blessed with immense talent, Danny progressed to be a full professional boxer and his curiosity and drive led him to MMA. Danny lives for his son, Clay, who gives him a sense of pride and purpose and it is, therefore, fitting that he signed for the UFC in 2015 on the same day Clay was born!
Mouthguards are the most important piece of equipment for fighters, which is why Danny has worn OPRO since he started boxing at his gym. Danny is working with OPRO to deliver his inspiring story and educate fighters over the importance of wearing a top-quality mouthguard.
Get to Know Danny, In and Out of the Ring (@danhotchocolate)
- Favorite sporting memory? I have a few favourite sporting memories but my debut in the UFC at the MGM in Las Vegas for international fight week was something I can never forget. I won, my family and close friends by my side to support- it all came together and was something that will never leave my heart.
- Favorite thing about competing? The moment the bell rings at the start of a fight, it’s time… I am free!
- Least Favorite? Weight cutting, it has to be done but it’s far from the most enjoyable time for me.
- Favorite exercise in the gym? Bag work & the grind aspect of wrestling
- Least favorite? I enjoy all aspects regardless, but I’d say having to maintain consistency throughout the tough times can be challenging for us all. It’s a mind over matter thing.
- How has your relationship with your sport changed over the years? As I’ve got older, my purpose and all aspects of what I do have changed slightly but only for the better. I am a lot more mature with my approach and the way I execute my game plan from a daily basis to competition which helps me across the board, from competing to taking care of my family to my daily tasks and time management. They all go hand-in-hand.
- Who first inspired you to compete? Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. were always my sporting role models when I was young. As the sport of MMA was still very new and unheard-of it grew and I became a big fan of Jose Aldo & JSP when watching the UFC.
- Last song you listen to before a game/match? I mix it up depending on how I feel. I’m always changing and with that, I like finding new songs that resonate with who I am and bring out the best side of me. I was born in London and I’m a big fan of the UK hip hop scene so at the moment I listen to a lot of Krept and Konan, Giggs and Wretch 32. I particularly enjoyed walking out to Krept and Konan "Last Night in LA" at UFC London 2018.
- Besides the sporting essentials, what do you bring with you to tournaments? I have a pendant my 4-year-old son gave me for my birthday with his thumbprint on and it’s a constant reminder, to why I do what I do and the knowledge they are always there even if they are not with me physically.
- Favorite athletes right now? Mo Salah -YNWA- and Rashad Evans – he’s one of the coolest cats I’ve ever met.
- Do you follow any pro sports teams? Just the current champions league holders Liverpool FC. Due to time spent in the States, I do like to watch a bit of NBA and NFL.
- When did you first realize you could compete professionally/internationally? In the early stages, it was hard to comprehend but I always had the self-belief that I could make it to the top. I think that when you’re coming up from a lower-class background something almost innate manifests inside you which give you supreme confidence but through hard -and smart- work and dedication I’ve managed to forge a career in the top MMA promotion in the world, UFC.
- You spend a lot of your training time in Florida, when you're out there what do you miss most about home? More than anything being away I miss my family but I also understand why I do it and it gives me a greater purpose every time I leave them and make the transition to get ready and prepare for battle, it’s like a modern-day gladiators life. It has its emotional attachments but again a great understanding only gives me power and drive.
- Favorite way to relax and wind down? Eat good food, laugh and play with my son, if I’m at home. If I’m away, it’s more therapeutic steam room massage and a bit of meditation. Just personal things to get my mind and body right while I’m away.
- What celebrity are you convinced you would be best friends with? I would have to say Will Smith, as I like the guys with humour and intelligence he would be somebody I could be real with but also have a lot of fun at the same time.
- Favorite place in the world? I have visited and been to some extraordinary places in the world. I love the Bahamas & Italy, but at the same time, there is nothing quite like being home with my arms around my loved ones.
- Most used app? This one I think is quite obvious, I would say it is Instagram and the reason why is have to maintain a lot of work and a social presence on that, I like to engage with my fans and supporters as much as I can as well as using it as a business tool.
- What do you dislike but have no good reason for disliking? Olives - never tasted them just know I don’t like the look or smell of them.
- What are you thinking about if you're not thinking about training? Family and the future - the constant hustle. Building my empire.
- Favorite meal during the training season? Fish, salmon/cod with brown rice and vegetables, I tried to make my diet consist of around 60 to 70% greens.
- Favorite meal in the off-season? I’m a sucker for Italian and I’m a carb monster.
- If you weren't a professional athlete, what would you like to be doing? I would be a firefighter, I think saving lives would be pretty dope.
- What are you currently watching/listing to? I have just finished the Netflix series La Casa Papel, I watch some anime so a big fan of that. Baki! If you know you know! I’m in Russia for fight week right now so it’s a combination of UK rap and drill to some smooth classics such Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley… chilled vibes.
- When all is said and done, you hang up the gloves/mouthguards/etc, how would you like to be remembered within the sport? My plan when I’m finished is to be able to produce a legacy that is far greater than myself, for my family and for those around me that need it. I will place myself in a position to be able to give back once my career is finished to the underprivileged and communities that need it. Anything is possible.