After suffering two straight losses to begin last year, Utah lightweight prospect David Castillo has rebounded, winning four of five fights (with one no contest).
The two losses forced Castillo to address what he felt was his biggest weakness and, “focus on my guard and fighting off my back. That’s where I needed to improve the most.”
Training at Jeremy Horn’s Elite Performance in Salt Lake City, Castillo feels he’s getting the proper training to overcome his increasingly difficult opposition.
“In my camp we’re still pushing forward for me to perform to my best potential as a fighter,” he said. “I feel like I’m being pushed constantly, and being trained under Jeremy Horn is a great confidence booster for me.
“In my opinion, there’s not a better coach out there that can apply the ground game and jiu-jitsu and gear it towards fighting.”
Even though he feels he’s getting the highest level of training possible, Castillo told MMAWeekly.com that it doesn’t make him overconfident.
“I don’t go into fights thinking guys aren’t receiving the level of training I am,” he said. “I never underestimate anybody. I always assume they have the best training possible and that’s what makes me fight-ready every time I step in there.”
At 14-4, Castillo’s at the point where he’s going to have to beat top-level competition to make his step to the next level, which is exactly the kind of opposition he’ll be facing in UFC veteran John Gunderson at Saturday’s UCS Caged Combat 6 for the promotion’s lightweight title.
“John Gunderson is a lot like me,” said Castillo. “He’s a well-rounded guy who is good on the ground, standing and has decent wrestling. I know he’s got great conditioning, so I’ve made sure that I’m ready to go five rounds and be ready to push the pace and see if I can hurt him and put him away.
“I know he’s said that he’s going to put me away early, but I think he’s sadly mistaken. I think he’s underestimating me, and it’s definitely going to work to my advantage in the fight.”
Currently scheduled to return to Showdown Fights in August, Castillo has the possibility of raising his winning streak to six fights, title in tow, which could produce the kind of buzz to get him noticed by a national promotion.
“Hopefully a win over Gunderson will get the UFC or one of the other high-level organizations looking at me,” he said.
“I see myself ready for the highest level of this sport. I’m confident in my skillset and I’ve got to go prove that. Once that happens, I think everything’s going to take its course.”
(Photo courtesy of DavidCastilloMMA.com)
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