UFC lightweight fighter Danny “Last Call” Castillo joined BJPENN.COM Radio on Wednesday, April 3 to discuss his fight career and upcoming plans.
A member of Team Alpha Male, which boasts a stellar roster including Uriah Faber, Castillo has flown under the radar a bit at 155 pounds, but has been a staple under the Zuffa banner for years. His drive to improve every time he steps into the cage, he says, is partially due to the lack of exciting fights he has on his resume.
“I feel like I’m flying under the radar, yeah, but I haven’t had the most exciting fights and I know that” Castillo started. “I’m working on being-I wouldn’t say a more exciting fighter because I try to be an exciting fighter, and I got knocked out in the past. So basically, I’m just trying to win and I’m trying to do it in a great fashion where some of these publications and people in charge of the rankings would see the changes I’ve made in my career.”
The majority of those rankings, according to Castillo, have failed to rank him as one of the top 30 lightweights in mixed martial arts. In that aspect, Castillo has been given the motivation to train just as hard in the offseason as he does in an official training camp.
“I’ve felt like that my whole life, you know? With my MMA career, I kind of just liked to train and liked to go about my career with a chip on my shoulder. I feel like I don’t get enough respect from other fighters, I feel like I don’t get enough respect from different publications, I feel like I don’t get enough respect from MMA talk show/radio hosts in general.
“If you look at any article on Team Alpha Male, they’ll mention Uriah Faber, Chad Mendes, Joseph Benavidez, TJ Dillashaw, and you don’t even see me. It’s kind of frustrating, but it’s not frustrating because it’s been like that for the last five years; it’s hard to shine in a camp full of stars. I felt like I’ve put in my dues, but again 15, 16 fights with Zuffa; that’s a lot of fights.”
In a training camp stacked to the gills with talent, Castillo went on to say that he did not feel like he was at a disadvantage concerning his preparation. Despite Faber, Mendes and Benavidez fighting in lower weight classes, Castillo believes that his teammates’ skills and natural size (before cutting weight) gives him an edge in camp. Besides that, Castillo has built a relationship with the Diaz brothers and the rest of Cesar Gracie’s camp in Lodi, CA, which affords him the opportunity to get quality work in with other top-level fighters who possess a different style.
For his last fight, which saw him shut down Paul Sass for three rounds at UFC on Fuel TV 7 in February, Castillo admitted that he had doubts based on Sass’ jiu-jitsu pedigree.
“I was scared, man. I was worried about his jiu-jitsu, to be honest with you. The guy had, man, three “Submission of the Night” bonuses, and I don’t even have any. I’ve had 15, 16 fights with Zuffa and I don’t have any. So, going against a jiu-jitsu guy who has great jiu-jitsu, that’s really sick and savvy on the ground-not to mention the guy had just beat Jacob Volkmann in the first round with a triangle. Jacob Volkmann’s a phenomenal grappler, you know, I had some trouble with him and he beat me. Also, he submitted Michael Johnson with a heel hook in the first round; maybe second round I don’t remember, and those are two guys that beat me. So I was worried and stressed out, but I’m worried about every fighter I come against. Any time there’s thousands of dollars in jeopardy, I’m worried about it. That’s all I do is fight for a living, so if you mean to tell me that I go into a fight and only get half my paycheck, then yeah, you better believe I’m worried about it.”
Despite claiming that he is just as, if not wittier than Chael Sonnen, Castillo has not resorted to elaborate forms of trash talk in order to hype a fight. That may perhaps be the reason that he’s yet to find out who his next opponent will be, though he says that will pose no issues to him regarding preparation. Currently in the mid-160’s, Castillo’s focus and energy will be geared only towards his opponent, and not getting into shape.
For someone who has never pulled out of, or turned down a fight, Castillo pays no mind to the notion of being exciting just for the hell of it. Had he garnered a record lingering near .500, he says, nobody would care to see him compete. His goal for the future, however, is the same as it’s always been.
“At the end of the day, to fight well is to win.”
To hear the full-length interview with Danny Castillo, including his thoughts on a potential move down to 145 pounds and the dynamic at Team Alpha Male since Duane Ludwig’s promotion to head coach, visit the BJPENN.COM Radio channel and listen on demand, or listen to the player below.BJPenn.Com Radio, Danny Castillo, mma, MMA NEWS, ufc, ufc news