Just about two weeks out from his UFC 151 fight with Michael Johnson, Danny Castillo is wrapping up the end of training camp and is as focused as ever. In an interview with Five Ounces of Pain, Castillo opened up about his schedule, his camp, and his upcoming meeting with TUF finalist Johnson.
The 14-4 Castillo has strung together three wins entering the bout including a finish of Shamar Bailey as well as decisions over Anthony Njokuani and John Cholish. The 32-year old revealed he enjoys fighting frequently, and as long as it makes sense he even has no problem fighting even if it means sacrificing the regular amount of time he might train for a tilt.
“A majority of my fights in the WEC and in the UFC have come on less than five weeks’ notice,” said Castillo. “I fought Joe Stephenson on five weeks’ notice, and I believe I fought Bailey on four weeks’ notice as well.”
“That has to do with me being a true professional and never getting out of shape. I never take time off, and I’m constantly training and constantly trying to get better. If the fights match up, I’ll take it,” he added, explaining his uncanny ability to perform when called upon.
Castillo had a full camp for his upcoming fight with Johnson and was even able to take a short vacation to refuel after his win over Cholish.
“I try and take my girlfriend and I to Mexico for a week after each bout, and we have done so for the last three fights,” Castillo explained. “I try to leave the fighting back in California, leave the country and recharge refuel and reset.
However, try as he might to separate the two, his lifestyle always plays into his love of mixed martial arts, concluding on his free time, “I try to have hobbies that are related in some way to my passion which is MMA. I do a lot running and a lot of cycling, and I am staying in shape and enjoying myself.”
For this camp Castillo branched out a bit from just training with Team Alpha Male, and was able to work alongside the Diaz Brothers at Cesar Gracie’s gym.
“Those guys are great. We kind of have the same mind set, and they train really hard, I think they are the hardest training group of guys in MMA. I’m constantly learning stuff from Nick Diaz and Nate Diaz, and the guys they have there,” said Castillo of the experience.
For the second straight camp, he has also spent time working on his striking with esteemed striking coach Jeff Mayweather, of whom he offered, “He’s a great guy, and very easy going, and he is very knowledgeable. Getting to work with one of the great trainers is good for me, its good for my confidence, and my boxing is tighter, and my defense is tighter as well.”
Castillo now has the recently resurgent Johnson in front of him, but he feels all fighters have holes in their game and he is looking forward to seeing how he stacks up against him.
“I am looking forward to testing myself against his speed,” admitted Castillo, labeling Johnson as a very athletic and talented fighter. “I think there are holes in his game, just like every fighter out there, there is always going to be holes in their game, and I have a game plan that will exploit some of those holes in his game, and I am confident I will be able to do so and come out on top.”
In recent a recent interview Johnson commented that he isn’t too worried about Castillo’s wrestling and he has beaten tough wrestlers before, but Castillo hasn’t put too much stock into the things Johnson has been saying.
“He is supposed to say things like that. I don’t expect him to say ‘Danny’s a talented wrestler and I am scared of his wrestling and I have trouble with wrestlers and my ground game is one of my big holes,’” Castillo quipped. “In 18 professional fights, there has only been one guy I wasn’t able to take down, and I knocked him out in the second round…(Johnson) is going to have to deal with my wrestling and he is going to have to deal with my power, and I am definitely stronger than him so we’re going to see in two weeks.”
As far the tough wrestlers Johnson has faced, Castillo has some questions for Johnson. “I want to know the tough wrestlers he is fought…he has only fought Shane Roller, and that’s the only wrestler he has fought on his resume, and he is saying he has fought tough wrestlers? I don’t know of any other wrestler he has fought. Jonathan Brookins is a pretty solid wrestler and he got beat by Brookins… He also lost to Paul Sass on the floor by heel hook.”
He finished the thought by expressing his hope people realize Johnson is the one making questionable claims, stating, “I’m not making bold statements that I have fought some of the best strikers in the division, I haven’t. Have I fought better strikers then him? Of course I have.”
And how does ‘Last Call’ see the fight playing out?
“I have fought this fight several times in my head. There are a lot of ways I see this fight going. And I see myself winning all the time. I don’t see myself winning by ground and pound, or submission. I mean that could happen, but I see it ending with a big right hand. I have seen Johnson break in fights, he was looking for a way out in the Roller fight, and he will be looking for a way out in this fight. I am going to give him a way out,” he concluded with conviction.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC