Lightweight Danny Castillo feels he has many tools to one day achieve his goal of being a UFC champion. Less than a week out from his UFC on FX 5 bout with Michael Johnson, Castillo sat down with Five Ounces of Pain to discuss his goals, his work ethic, and the impact the WEC lightweights had had in the most stacked division in combat sports.
Very few fans and analysts predicted how well WEC fighters would fare in the Octagon after the organization’s lightweight division was folded into the UFC’s. However, it didn’t surprise Castillo.
“Right now, we have three guys in the Top 10, so in reality, I was fighting some of the top guys in the world in the WEC. Benson Henderson has the title, Anthony Pettis is in the Top 10, Donald Cerrone is in the Top 10. “I think I was fighting some of the best guys in the WEC and now we’re proving it. We’re proving it right now as we make statements in the Octagon.”
Castillo suffered stoppages to both Pettis and Cerrone while under contract with WEC. That being said, while Castillo can see a silver-lining around some of his in-ring stumbles, he also understands most fans haven’t been blessed with the same perspective he has.
“It’s so hard sometimes. They see it as you are only good as your last fight, and I can win five fights straight and lose one fight in the first round by submission, and I’m the worst fighter on the planet and I should give it all up. That’s sad, but thats the harsh truth dealing with some MMA fans,”
Castillo admitted. “As the sport goes on they will become more educated, but there are also a lot of jackasses who have no idea what they are talking about. It’s a good thing the Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta know the fight game as well as they do.”
Castillo also acknowledged how easy it is to get caught up in internet drama and articles from critics/oddsmakers, though he himself tries to avoid the opinions of people who don’t know him or aren’t aware of his day-to-day efforts at Team Alpha Male.
“I don’t really pay attention to that stuff. For the most part, of all the fights I have had so far, I think last fight was the first fight I was favored. I didn’t even really know that, my buddies told me. I tell them not to tell me when they are betting on me,"
When it comes to the things he can control, like the training time he puts in, the prideful Castillo considers his work ethic an advantage over most if not all opponents including Johnson.
“One thing about me that is different from Johnson is that I worked my way into the UFC. I’ve been fighting my way in. I lost two tough ones, I got knocked out, and I have been fighting my ass off to get where I got,” Castillo stated proudly. “I didn’t have a reality show to get where I am at right now. Everything I have right now, I worked really hard for. I take pride in that.”
Johnson was an Ultimate Fighter finalist, receiving a deal from the UFC even though he fell short against season-winner Jonathon Brookins.
“My ultimate goal is to be champion, and to have gold around my waist. It has been my goal since day one and I have never given up on that goal. The advantage I have, and something that is going to help me achieve my goal is my work ethic. I am a hard worker, and I love hard work,” Castillo continued. “If this sport was all about hard work, I would be an undefeated champion and have more title defenses then Anderson Silva.
“But there are different variables that go in fighting, and I have lost some fights, but I continue to work hard and I’m not scared of hard work so i will continue to work hard to reach that goal,”
the 33-year old concluded.
The 14-4 Castillo’s clash with Johnson can be caught Friday on Fuel TV. Facebook prelims start at 4:00 PM EST with Fuel TV taking over an hour later and the main card firing up on FX at 8:00 PM EST.