Danny ‘Hot Chocolate’ Roberts is a 25 year old professional mixed martial artist fighting out of Next Generation in Liverpool. He competes at welterweight and currently has a record of 7-1, holding wins over the likes of Jack Mason. Being signed to Cage Warriors means he gets to fight all over the country and, possibly, the world, with his first CWFC fight being in London. Now, on May 4th, he competes in Cardiff, Wales, where he takes on Diego Gonzalez in what looks to be shaping up to be a thrilling battle. We caught up with Danny ahead of the fight.
Firstly, the name, Hot Chocolate… Talk to me… Where did that come from!?
(Laughs) I have to laugh every time I hear it. It’s originally from when I moved up from down south to Liverpool, I got a job on the doors and my good mate used to call me it down to the apparent dashing looks I have, and I’m a sucker for every type of chocolate bar. It stuck to me and everyone that got introduced to me after knew me as Hot Chocolate, so that’s where Hot Chocolate was born.
So you train out of Next Gen Liverpool what’s it like training down there with all those guys?
Next Generation as a gym is perfect for me to train; top level guys with all different dynamic styles. We’ve got a big team full with talent and ambition. It works well; there are high levels of happiness in the gym, we’re like one big family, which I personally think helps. There’s a one to one relationship with head coach Paul Rimmer too, he understands the fighters at Next Generation and knows how we all tick. He knows our strengths and weaknesses and knows how to produce a fighter. All these factors are what make the gym feel like home for me.
You are taking on Diego Gonzalez at Cage Warriors 54 in Wales, do you know much about him?
I’ve done some homework and Diego is no one to be taken lightly, as I can probably imagine I’m the underdog in this fight. He’s a tough grappler who likes to bring the fight.
The fight is taking place on a Cage Warriors card, you have fought on there before, how happy are you to be signed for them?
I’ve fought for Cage Warriors twice now and what I have experienced is amazing; it’s where I imagined me fighting as a kid – the big stage and in front of the cameras. I’m grateful and happy to be signed to such big and leading organisation like Cage Warriors.
How do you feel you match up with Diego?
I think it’s a good match up stylistically. We both possess skills that when faced against each other will make an exciting fight! I think it’s a fight that will defiantly show case some skills.
Being signed with CW means you get to fight against international opposition, with your upcoming fight as a perfect example, do you feel that you’re at that stage in your career now where you should step it up a level and look towards the upper echelons of the division?
Yeah I totally understand where I’m at now and where I want to be, Cage Warriors have given me an opportunity to show what I’ve got to offer the sport.
You’re coming into the fight off a win over a great fighter in Jack Mason, does that boost your confidence having defeated someone who is held in such high regard in the UK?
Confidence? I have the same outlook to any fight I have, just to work hard and fight the best I can. Jack is a very good, well rounded guy. We have become good friends and training partners now, both got a lot of time and respect for each other in this business – he works full time and trains like a pro. As for the fight I knew what to do, game planned well and pulled it off. It gave me a lot of experience and I felt it was what I needed, to prove I could take that step up.
How has training been going so far for the fight, anything specific?
Ooow fight specifics I don’t want to give away too much, but what I will say is it’s been a good camp, amazing training as always at Next Generation and No Limits gym.
Before your last fight, you dropped a loss to Droftei, it was your first loss, what did you take from it?
It was a loss that taught me a valuable lesson. It mentally hurt me because I knew I could have won the fight, that’s why when the offer came through to fight a top fighter like Jack Mason, I couldn’t say no. I wanted to prove I can be one of the UK’s top fighters.
So you’ve had 2 fights with CW now, Che Mills & Cathal Pendred battle for the title at CW55, how far are you away from that belt, do you feel?
I think I’m a couple of fights away from title level, but also feel I’ve got the skills to be up there with the rest of them. I know the time will come sooner or later and when it does, I’ll be ready.
What are your goals within the sport, on the whole and what keeps you motivated?
I manage to train full time Monday to Friday and I’m lucky to be able to do so with help from my team and sponsors. It is my dream to get to the big stage, to represent the UK and do my family and friends proud. I’ve come from nothing and had a hard upbringing, living in different rough areas, but my mum’s always done the best she could with what little she had. I want to be able to give my mum the nice things she deserves and make her and my family proud and I want it bad!
Thanks for your time mate and good luck on May 4th, are there any people you would like to thank?
I would just like to say a big thank you to all my team and training partners at Next Generation Liverpool and No Limits gym, also my sponsors Kinetica, Fuel Shakes and Lez Oulton at Live Wire Dynamic for helping me. Finally I’d like to thank my head coach and good friend Paul Rimmer, he gives me all his time and efforts in helping me train, pushing me to my best. Thank you.