In Brazil, Daniel trained under Carlinhos Gracie and received his Black Belt from him at the age of twenty-three. Daniel began competing in various city and state Jiu-Jitsu tournaments in 1982. Beginning in 1994, Daniel competed in the Brasilian Nationals and in the Mundials. His submission grappling career includes two events in 2003 and in 2005.
In Japan, the Gracie family were regular competitors in the PRIDE events. Beginning in 2002, Daniel fought in four PRIDE events as a Heavyweight, winning three times. Facing Takashi Sugiura, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazuhiro Nakamura and Wataru Sakata - Daniel fought against some of Japan’s top competitors, each time in an arena with well over 60,000 fans.
In Europe, Daniel has fought in the inaugural IFC Israel Fighting Championship in Tel Aviv, Israel in 2010. He won by Rear Naked Choke over his opponent Martin Wojcik.
In the United States, Daniel has fought once in The Gracie Fight Championship, an event designed by Relson Gracie, and twice in the International Fight League as a Pitbull. He also competed in the premier Light Heavyweight tournament of Bellator. His competitors included Wes Sims (once in the GFC and once in the IFL) and Allan Goes in the IFL, Tim Carpenter and Duane Bastress in Bellator.