At 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, it’s hard to miss German heavyweight Andreas “Big Daddy” Kraniotakes. Couple his size with his ability to finish fights, and anyone who encounters the fighter is sure to take notice.

However, it’s not his physique that the 30-year-old wants you to pay attention to.

“My career goal has always been to not only build a solid base for MMA, but to educate the public about the best sport in the world,” the fighter told The MMA Corner. “We still have to fight a lot of prejudices in Germany. I see myself as an ambassador for the sport, and I try to convince as many people as I can to accept it.”

(Courtesy of kraniotakesmma.com)

Kraniotakes’ career has largely followed the growth of the sport in his home country. In the beginning, it was a far contrast from what most MMA fans have come to know.

“It was like inventing the sport ourselves,” he explained. “We didn’t have MMA gyms and I couldn’t find a trainer that had fought or even knew anything about the sport. So I took my judo skills, added some muay Thai and stepped into a cage. That was quite the adventure!”

Now with both his career and the sport gaining ground worldwide, Kraniotakes is optimistic about its future in Germany.

“I feel like I grew up as an athlete together with German MMA,” said Kraniotakes. “It was an infant when I started and now we both have grown. I hope the growth will not stop any time soon.”

What really put the heavyweight on the map was a last-minute fight with former UFC champion Tim Sylvia. And although Kraniotakes came up short on the judges’ scorecards, it was a big moment for him and German MMA.

“You have to realize, that was easily the biggest fight a German fighter has ever fought in,” the fighter explained. “That was an opportunity to headline a big, American show and I learned that even on short notice I’m able to fight under great pressure.”

Even before the Sylvia fight, Kraniotakes began travelling to San Diego to train at Victory MMA and continue his growth as a fighter. But he hasn’t stopped there.

“There is still so much I have to work on,” Kraniotakes revealed. “The level of training partners and coaches (in California) is unmatched and it has helped me bring my game to another level. I’m also travelling in Europe, working with the best training partners I can find. Currently I’m in Romania preparing for my next fight.”

Kraniotakes relishes his win (kraniotakesmma.com)

His next fight will be against Bellator veteran Mike Hayes for the vacant Cage Warriors title on March 16 from the Dubai World Trade Centre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The fight will stream live on MMAJunkie.com.

“I know Hayes is a tough son of a gun,” the German declared. “He has fought some really good guys like Alexey Oleinik and Neil Grove. He’s had 20 fights and never been finished; that’s quite impressive if you ask me.”

It’s likely that something will have to give when the two step into the cage, as Kraniotakes has finished all 13 of his wins, including 11 in the first round.

“Decisions are second-class wins for me,” stated Kraniotakes. “As a sport, we need to have a point system, but at the end of the day there can be a lot of discussion about how to score a fight. If you knock the guy out or submit him, there are no questions left! I don’t like unanswered questions, do you?”

Despite his confidence in his finishing abilities, Kraniotakes is certainly not looking past Hayes. In fact, he’s expecting quite the war.

“The next fight is always the hardest,” he acknowledged. “Hayes is a great competitor and I expect him to come out and bring it to me. He likes to stand and trade, so the fight should be the fans watching. Hopefully I will be able to capture that belt.”

Andreas would like to thank his American fans for all of the positive feedback on Twitter. Also, he’d like to acknowledge his lifelong friends Sia, Mo, and Jan for always having his back and helping him compete at the highest level.

Top Photo: Andreas Kraniotakes celebrates victory (Cage Warriors)