Daniel “Prodigy” Gonzalez (am 3-3), a charismatic flyweight who trains out of American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in San Jose, California, seeks to scribe the next chapter in his saga as a mixed martial artist. Slated to compete at Conquer Fighting Championships (CFC) 2 on April 30th, 2016, Gonzalez, following a victory over his next opponent, intends on pouring whiteout on his amateur status and refilling the same space with a new font, spelling out: professional.
Targeting a bold exclamation point in his seventh appearance as an amateur, some may wonder why Gonzalez has yet to ink his name across the dotted line as a pro. Quick to open up and discuss a sport he passionately invests in, Gonzalez discussed his decision to draft one more subplot as an ammy,
“The whole point of me in my amateur career is to feel experienced, and, as of right now, I feel like I’m ready. In my early amateur career, I was so tense the entire time, but now I’m loose, I’m dancing, and I’m having fun. That’s what my coaches wanted. They just wanted me to feel comfortable in there.” Admittedly, he stated, “It’s really hard for people to get comfortable in there.”
Publishing a life as a pro while training at AKA requires the approval of the coaching staff. Gonzalez, aware of his coaches’ support, spoke with an empowered confidence. He described the collaborative process in revising an amateur’s readiness ,
“Here at AKA, the fighter needs to feel like they are ready. If a coach says, ‘You’re ready to go pro,’ but the fighter, inside, is saying, ‘I’m not ready.’ Then, you’re not ready. You have to be ready, and your coaches have to be fully committed to you going pro. If it’s fifty-fifty, just stick to amateur.”
Gonzalez’s raw athleticism masks the fact he entered MMA without a background in any of the martial arts. The competitive edge he identified while participating in other sports leaks out like a fountain pen onto the canvas; no pocket-protector alive can save his opposition from leaving the matchup mark-free,
“Every time I did sports, I was an aggressive player, but I had never done one-on-one competition. That [one-on-one competition] always intrigued me because it was different. When you have a team, it could be their fault a mistake happened, like basketball or football. This [MMA] is all you!”
Drawn in by the allure of hoisting sole responsibility of each sporting event on his own shoulders, the product of AKA explained how his MMA memoir would have read much differently without the scaffolds he acquired to structure his path,
“The first gym I ever walked into was Main Street Kickboxing. I decided to leave because I had a tournament at AKA, and Javier Mendez [AKA’s head coach] asked me, ‘You don’t have a coach to corner you in this tournament? Do you have a coach?’ I was like, ‘He couldn’t come today.’” Disappointment exuded from Gonzalez as he continued, “It was kind of embarrassing.” But, as soon as he hit a stumbling block, Mendez picked him right back up, “I wasn’t really representing a gym at that time, so Javier came up to me and told me, ‘If you want to take this seriously, come into this gym.’ No Rosetta Stone needed for Gonzalez to read the hieroglyphics on the walls of AKA as clear as day, “I got a tour from one of the guys, and I was very interested. I lived an hour away from San Jose, but I recently moved there and am three miles away from the gym. I basically live there now.”
AKA, a facility storied in cranking out elite mixed martial artists, also bonds its squadron with any blood spilled on the mats running thicker than water,
“Everybody is so great there. There are no bullies, or people like, ‘Oh, I’m pro, or I’m a UFC champion.’ Everybody is very involved with everybody. When you see Luke Rockhold walking by, he’ll stop and say, ‘Hey, how’s the training going? When is the next fight?’ They’re very welcoming and always asking questions. Javier is always checking up on the amateurs, making sure we’re doing great and always going to our shows. It’s a family there.”
Turning back several pages to the first CFC event, CFC 1, a vivid image materializes from the text. Gonzalez, oozing with pride, authored the atmosphere at the gym when his teammate, Allison Schmidt, with the determination of a warrior, debuted as an amateur,
“One of our girls fought in the last Conquer card; it was her amateur debut. She had been training for a really long time, and, for everybody to see her grow like that, and to finally step in the cage, it was very emotional. We were all like, ‘Oh man, she’s finally in there after all her years of preparing for this.’ And when she won, everybody went crazy; everybody would talk about it in the gym; everybody is just so together!”
Without a doubt, Gonzalez will garner the same raucous cheers from his peers when he exits the CFC proving ground with a victory, closing the tale on his amateur days and cracking the binding of a new anthology. However Gonzalez’s plot unfolds, he travels with the wisdom imparted on him from his head coach,
“Javier is a very high-level coach. He’s been around the game a long time, and he’s built people into champions. First, he says, ‘You’ve got to be here.’ There’s a lot of people who: life happens and family happens to get in the way. He also says, ‘You need to be in love with this [MMA].’” Removing the quill from the notepad and applying some reflective consideration, Gonzalez redirects the tool to its task and announced, “I’m very in love with this, and it’s all I think about. I’m very excited for every fight, and every day I’m in the gym and getting better.”
More than prepared to etch out his next dramatic scene in MMA, Gonzalez closed with an epilogue for all of his opponents to commit to memory and, working his longhand, shorthand, or both in combination, sends fans home from the Craneway Pavillion, after a fantastic performance, with something to write about while at CFC 2,
“I’m going to make sure whoever I face April 30th that they will never forget my name. He will never forget my face because I want him to realize that I’m different. After this fight, he will look at me and say in his mind, ‘He is the future.’”
Follow Gonzalez to a bestselling arena near you:
Jake Collier Re-Signs with the UFC
UFC light heavyweight, Jake Collier (11-4, 3-3 UFC) , took to twitter yesterday, announcing a four fight contract renewal with the promotion.
The Missouri-born, Collier, amassed a 7-1 professional record fighting exclusively in his home state. Following his next fight, a 1st round submission victory over Gabriel Checco in the RFA promotion, Collier signed with the UFC.
Originally, Collier signed as a middleweight. His promotional debut took place in December of 2014 at, UFC Fight Night 58. A bout which he lost to Vitor Miranda via TKO (Head kick and punches) with only one second remaining in the opening round.
— Jake Collier (@Jakecollier88) December 7, 2017
In 2017, “The Prototype”, moved to the light heavyweight division. The move came after a three-year stint at middleweight that saw him go 2-2. Losing to the likes of Dongi Yang, while defeating Ricardo Abreu. His final fight at the lower weight earned him a performance of the night bonus in his, UFC Fight Night 88, TKO win over Alberto Uda.
Upon moving to light heavyweight, Collier has the same .500 win percentage with a record of 1-1. His debut at the weight originally scheduled him against John Stansbury. Unfortunately, Collier withdrew from the card due to injury. Devin Clark replaced him on, The Ultimate Fighter Finale: 24, and defeated John Stansbury by unanimous decision. Clark then fought Collier next, defeating him by unanimous decision. “The Prototype”s most recent bout, a victory over Marcel Fortuna in November at, UFC Fight Night 120.
According to, UFC.com, Collier is booked to fight UFC-newcomer, Marcin Prachnio at, UFC on Fox 28, in Orlando, Florida. The only bout booked to the February 24th card, of next year.
Prachnio, holds a record of 13-2, with 10 knockouts. He most recently fought for the Asian-based promotion, One Championship. The Karate practitioner comes to the UFC on an eight fight win streak, the previous four in One Championship. At twenty-nine, Prachnio is another, in his prime, European light heavyweight signed to the UFC this year (Volkan Oezdemir being the other).
FURY FC 17 Preview: UFC Veteran Roger Narvaez Set to Fight For Gold
Deep in the Hill Country of Texas, there is a storm of MMA action brewing on the horizon in the historic city of San Antonio.
In 1836 the most iconic siege ever to take place in the American West was waged between Santa Anna’s Mexican forces and a small band of Texans fighting for their independence at the Battle of the Alamo. On June 10th that tradition of never backing down continues as Fury Fighting Championships 17 takes place at the Shrine Auditorium with a card that was originally slated to have 20 bouts of MMA action. At the top of the bill, there will be a familiar face as former UFC fighter, Roger “The Silverback” Narvaez, looks to capture his first championship in the sport when he faces Antonio “Doomsday” Jones for the vacant middleweight title. The event will also feature a hot prospect, a kickboxing champion, and a grudge match.
Fury FC 17 will be broadcast live on FloCombat.com.
While the 33-year-old Narvaez (8-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has already realized his ultimate goal of getting to the highest level of MMA, fighting for a title has always eluded him. The 6’3″ fighter nicknamed “The Silverback” due to his abnormal 79.5″ wingspan, or monkey arms as he calls them was twice scheduled to fight for the Legacy Fighting Championship Middleweight Title against then champion Bubba Bush who now fights in the UFC. An injury caused the first fight to be canceled. Then a call up to the UFC to fight an unknown opponent on short notice put an end to plans for the another scheduled title fight.
To Roger, the secret to grabbing the attention of the world’s biggest MMA promotion is fighting for several different promotions. He fought for six different organizations winning all of his fights before getting a call from the UFC’s former matchmaker Joe Silva to ask if he was ready to make the move. Narvaez feels that fighting for multiple shows tells the UFC that a fighter is ready to fight whoever and whenever. His first fight for the promotion was a loss to Patrick Cummins at UFC Fight Night 42 in Albuquerque where he fought at an altitude of over 5300 feet sea level, something he says will not do again unless he is training at altitude. To put it bluntly, he plainly states “the altitude in Albuquerque sucks.” After a win against Luke Barnett, he faced Elias Theodorou. In that fight, he broke his arm before ultimately losing, and was then cut by the UFC.
At this point in Narvaez’s career, his goals now are different:
“The next goal for me, to be realistic, is to make as much money as I can. I love fighting, but at the same time, I have a family that I am trying to support. That is always first and foremost now…[and] Fury is doing a pretty good job of taking care of me…This is a really big deal for me. I am probably training harder for this fight than I have ever trained before. Part of that is with age comes knowledge and experience and I am doing everything I need to do the right way to get ready to come home with that strap, but that strap means ever thing…I didn’t quit fighting with a broken arm, it is going to take something pretty drastic to get me stop. I don’t think the guy I am fighting is going to be able to break my will or test my heart to where I am not going to be able to pull through…coming home with that title is a big deal.”
That home is one of a fighting family. Narvaez’s wife Brandi is also a fighter who recently made her professional debut at Legacy Fighting Alliance 7. His stepson is a gray belt who competes in Jui-Jitsu year round, his daughter also trains in the sport. They understand the hard work that their dad puts in more so than the average fighter’s family. As he puts “it’s not normal, but it is normal to us.”
The prospect to keep an eye on is Two-time Alabama state wrestling champion turned lightweight MMA fighter, Alec Williams (5-1 MMA) from Birmingham. Williams will be looking to rebound from his first professional loss as he takes on Travonne “Prince Scorpion” Hobbs. In his last fight, Alec relied on his wrestling and got it in his head that he did not want to stand and trade with his opponent. That mentality ultimately not only cost him his undefeated record but also to sustain four broken bones in the right side of his face.
“I didn’t get knocked out, I still got the takedown after I broke those four bones. I know it is going to be pretty difficult to knock me out…Honestly, the loss kind of took any pressure off. Before I was undefeated, that loss was going to be a big change and now a loss is just another loss.”
For this fight, Williams says he has been working with MMA legend and former UFC fighter Pete Spratt on his stand up and will not make the same mistake twice.
Also featured on the card is the first Brazilan World Cup Kickboxing Champion, welterweight Washington “Washingthai” Luiz. Originally slated to fight Nickolay Veretennikov, “Washingthai” Luiz will now take on lesser known Danny Ageday. With a new opponent on just four days notice, the man who has aspirations to become a champion in GLORY Kickboxing is not fazed.
“I did my whole camp studying my first opponent who is a striker like me, but I do not feel harmed by the change. I’m ready for this war…The main reason for my change to the USA is the opportunity to be in the biggest events in the world I have already fought the biggest events in Brazil in kickboxing and MMA. I have fought in big events in Europe and now my challenge is the biggest event of kickboxing, GLORY. But I also love MMA and when a fight appears for me, I do not refuse.”
The grudge match at Fury FC 17 comes to us from the flyweights division’s Mark “The Sparrow” Plata and David “Gallito” Miramontes. These two men were scheduled to fight previously but Plata had to pull out due to his wife giving birth to twins. According to Plata, that is where the beef began.
“The day my twins were born he was messaging me talking about how this was not a good reason not fight and that I just did not want to fight him. My kids were in ICU at the time and he just keeps messaging me over and over…it upset me at the time because they were dying, they were trying to survive, but it just added more fuel to the fire. Then he kept asking promoters to fight me. He asked two or three different promoters to set it up. I got tired of him asking for me. So then I was like, alright cool if you want it that bad, let’s do it…His fighting style matches his personality. He tries to be a bully, and that’s cool, I don’t mind shutting bullies down.”
Titles, champions, prospects, legitimate bad blood…what more you could ask for in a local card?
This is an event not to miss and thanks to Fury FC having a deal with FloSports, you do not have to.
Tune in for all the action live at 6:00 PM CST on FloCombat.com this Saturday.
*VIDEO* Francis Ngannou has his eyes on the UFC Heavyweight Title
UFC Heavyweight Francis “The Predator” Ngannou has taken the heavyweight division by storm.
Currently 5-0 in the UFC and riding a 9 fight win streak, the native of Cameroon possesses vicious power and has shown improvements each time he steps inside the cage.
Hear Ngannou talk about his journey and plans for the future:
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