How did you feel during your title fight? What did you do during the fight to make sure you got the belt?
Definitely stick with my takedowns, making sure that I took him down every round was important because I’m still young and still new to the sport. I don’t really know exactly how they judge when I am scoring on my feet. I come from a wrestling background so I know how that judging works so I made sure I got him down to the canvas for sure.
Going back to your roots and making sure you held him (Eduardo Dantas) down, is that something you discussed with your coach Eric between rounds, just to make sure that you controlled him and dominated him, not only to get the points but trying to finish him on the ground?
We did not discuss it between rounds but it was definitely a focus point in camp.
Was the strategy to burn him out during the fight, get him tired, being relentless?
For sure, I definitely wanted to make sure I wore him out so that when it comes to some exchanges on the feet he was not as explosive, as powerful and as strong. So definitely getting him tired was part of my game plan.
So that is pretty much how you expected the fight to pan out, to go with your game plan or is it sometimes the unknown when you are going in there as he can be an elusive striker?
I figured if I can get by the first three rounds, but then wondered how’s my body going to feel for the championship rounds? I know that when my gas tank starts to go down, I don’t want it to be empty so I stick to my offense and try to stay in position where I wouldn’t fight,
When did you start training at Alliance and what made you decide to train there?
I started training at Alliance full time in July 2016. I was trying to figure out what was best for my career moving forward. I came to Alliance and watched one practice, talked to coach Eric Del Fierro and got a feel for the guys. Within 24 hours I was already making decision that Alliance was the place I wanted to be at.
Working with Dominic Cruz had to be a no brainer at that point because you guys were in two separate leagues, and it was just going to make you both guys excel at the same time, learning from each other. I heard you guys have formed a really good friendship too right?
Training with Dominic Cruz is something I wanted to do before. Being able to train with a guy like him is a dream come true. It is where guys who are climbing up ranks want to be. He’s a guy who has already been here and done that so I’m excited to be here. Dom and I definitely have bonded and have become good friends. We motivate each other to keep pushing and be the best we can be at this sport.
Totally, and I am sure just learning from him as a mentor helps a ton, because Dominic started his career at small shows here in San Diego, just like you started and building up to be a Champion. Learning from him too on what it takes to be a champion, not only inside the cage but also outside the cage, all the media obligations that are going to come with that and how your life is going to change. Has it hit home with you yet that you are a champion now?
Well in my mind I have always been a champion, it was just a matter of time until it was solidified, so nothing has really changed, my daily routine is still the same. For me now it is trying to be the best that has ever lived, it is not going to be easy but I really think I have the tools to do so, and the right people around me.
What is next for you? Are you going to fight this year, next year?
I’d like to fight as soon as possible. I want to be an active champion. Guys like me are just scratching the surface.
Do you feel that a lot of champions delay their title defense to stay as champion longer?
Yes, but as I said before I want to fight and defend my belt as much as possible. My goal is to clear out the division and be the best ever at 135lbs.
So would like to move up eventually?
Absolutely, once I clear out the division at 135lbs, 145lbs is definitely doable for me.
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