This afternoon, the UFC brings forth its 16th offering on FOX. The card is one of the better ones of the summer, and features several great match-ups leading up to the main event title bout between T.J. Dillashaw and Renan Barao.
One of the most intriguing bouts on the card is the Jim Miller vs. Danny Castillo fight. Both men are coming off a few unfortunate losses, which should make for one of those all-out slobberknockers that usually result from guys being paired up that have more than a passing concern for job safety.
In a recent interview with the Three Amigos Podcast, Danny Castillo discussed his eminent Octagon appointment with Miller, locker room bonuses, the iv ban and more. Here's what he had to say:
TAP: Many believe wrestling to be the jiu-jitsu killer, but Miller has a very offensive guard. Does that figure in to how you've prepared for this fight as opposed to other "ground" guys you've faced?
Danny Castillo: That's a good question. I don't know. I'm just going to go out there and fight my fight. I put my whole life on hold; my business, everything. I flew out to Denver and have been training for the last five weeks with Duane Ludwig and T.J. Dillashaw, and I'm ready to fight him wherever the fight goes.
I've seen him have trouble with guys on top, keeping him pressured, the Pat Healy fight comes to mind. In his last fight still showed that same trouble he has with top pressure. I'm so tough on top, I actually lose fights on top. I was on top of Tony Ferguson for about 12 minutes, and I lost the fight there.
Wherever the fight goes, I'm ready, prepared and willing. I'm a black belt, as well. I know he has a great ground game, so when I flew back to Sacramento, I went and trained with Nate Diaz, who has also fought Jim in the past, and I just had some amazing rolls with him. That guy's got the best guard, I don't care what anyone says.
TAP: You mentioned you were out at Ludwig's for 5 weeks. How was that for you?
Danny Castillo: It was well worth it. I'm a business owner, and I was afraid to leave, but I have a good partner who was able to hold down the fort while I was gone, but still, it's really stressful. I can't go out there and lose this fight. It has to be worthwhile, because I didn't put my life and business on hold for all that time...I made that sacrifice because I want to be the best in the world. This is a really important fight for me and I need a big, impressive win to make my name relevant again.
TAP: Do you feel more pressure going into this fight than any other fight you've had thus far?
Danny Castillo: There's thousands of dollars at stake every time I fight. There's always pressure. This is my 21st fight with the company between the WEC and the UFC. I'm just going out there to have fun. There's so much pressure to win that we put on ourselves; I just want to enjoy my time in my fights. I've always been so stressed out in the past, but for my past few fights, I haven't, and my fights are so much more fun.
TAP: Last time we spoke you were pretty angry that people were acting like Tony Ferguson wasn't that good after your close fight with him. Now he's closing in on a title shot and showing he's one of the best in the world. Do you feel a bit vindicated now, especially since a lot of people thought you won that fight?
Danny Castillo: Don't get me wrong, I'm really happy for Tony, but personally, I don't really like the guy. I shouldn't say "personally" because I don't even know the guy. He just rubs me the wrong way with some of the things he says. As a fighter, talent-wise, he surprised me completely. If you'd asked me who was going to win that fight going into it, I'd have said Josh Thomson. Josh is one of the best lightweights in the world, and what I saw Tony do to him was really impressive, and I'm happy for him. He beat me, and the guys that beat me, I want them to do extremely well.
Regardless of whether I like him or not, when you fight another man for 15 minutes in a cage where you really try to hurt each other, there's a sort of bond. I won't say it's camaraderie, but it's something. I saw Barboza downstairs, and I have a lot of respect for him, as well. I sat at the same table signing posters with Paul Felder, and I have respect for him. I hope he does really well. I hope they both do. Everyone I've fought, I have a ton of respect for them and I wish them all the best in their careers.
TAP: We recently saw Donald Cerrone outright accuse dos Anjos of being a juicer on Twitter. What are your thoughts on that and do you agree with call-outs that cast doubt on fighter integrity?
Danny Castillo: That's a pretty bold statement. Of course there is always speculation with some fighters, and supposedly there are signs that can indicate things, but I don't have enough experience or knowledge to weigh in on that. I'm not very outspoken in terms of what I say about my opponents or anybody in the sport. That's not the way I was raised and it's just not me. In the hood I'm from, you just don't run your mouth and say stuff like that. There's no need. They're going to fight eventually, so handle your business then. We're being tested year round randomly now, so we're going to be finding out who those people are that use performance enhancing drugs.
TAP: What are your thoughts on the upcoming iv ban and will that have any effect on you?
Danny Castillo: I think the ban benefits me, because I'm one of the smaller 55ers. I don't really cut that much weight. When I fought Paul Felder, we got a pre-fight drug test and when they weighed us, I was at 168, and right underneath my name on the paper, was his, and he had weighed in at 178.
That's pretty crazy that guys cut that much weight. It's insane, and keep in mind, after I weighed in for the fight, I tried to put on as much weight as possible, and 168 was as high as I got. I had a gallon and a half of water in me, I ate six times and I was still only 168.
I feel like I'm a true and natural 155er, but there's a lot of guys out there that are going to have trouble. I've used iv's in the past, and one situation I can recall, I felt terrible. With the iv, you're so sucked in and dehydrated, that once you get it, you feel incredible. Anyway, it was the Shane Roller fight; I had got an iv and felt incredible afterward. I was eating food and hanging out. What I forgot to do was drink water, because I wasn't thirsty anymore after the iv.
When I went into the fight, I felt great, but by the 2nd and 3rd round, I didn't have any water in my body, so my muscles were cramping up. I was basically dehydrated all over again. I didn't have any water in me, but I had the nutrients from the iv to make me feel good. After that, I stopped using iv's for a long time because I felt like it gave me a false sense of hydration.
I have used iv's since then, but I'm a lot smarter about it. When the ban comes around, it won't affect my cuts at all. It's going to be tough for a lot of other guys, though. So many of them cut huge amounts, 20-30 pounds the week of a fight. I'm interested to see what happens with them.
There's so many changes and the sport is growing so much...there's a Reebok deal now, it's nuts. When I came in to check in, I went into a fitting room with a seamstress! It's crazy how much the sport has grown. When I started in the WEC and the transition over to the UFC, there were guys that were running water that now have huge roles in the company. That's exciting to see, but at the same time, it's kind of sad, because when I started with the WEC, there were so many personal relationships with the staff, and now I feel like I don't know anybody. Overall, though, the change is a good one and shows how big the sport has become.
TAP: You mentioned with the Reebok deal, things have changed a great deal. Now there are seamstresses to make sure the uniforms are on point. How do you like your kit and the deal in general?
Danny Castillo: I think it makes what I do look more professional. If you look at baseball, basketball, football, they all have a big name apparel company backing them in some way or other. I have some mixed feelings about it, but I did make the quota where I'm one of the highest paid guys on the roster because I have so many fights with the company.
That was a main concern for me. I'm not in the Top 10 and I don't have the best record, so how ere they going to determine the sponsorship cuts for us? When I found out they determined it on tiers by tenure, for me, it works out, because I've been around for quite some time. For some of the others like my teammate Cody Garbrandt, it might not, but at the end of the day, the UFC takes care of its fighters.
You look at the payroll that comes out on whatever outlet publishes them, there's something missing. What they don't publish, is what we get on the back end, because they don't know those things. I get checks on the back end and it doesn't matter if I lose or get knocked out or win, I still get an extra check in the back.
I'm happy with everything I have. I don't struggle to pay my bills, I don't struggle to eat, none of that. Do I wish I was paid more? Of course I do. Who doesn't? LeBron James wishes he was paid more. J.J. Watt wishes he was paid more. Well, J.J. probably should be paid more. He's pretty badass [laughs]. It all comes down to your self-worth, and everyone thinks they're worth more than they're getting paid. If you don't, maybe you don't value yourself very highly.
TAP: You've very wisely set yourself up with a business (pilates studio) in preparation for your future. Do you think the UFC should maybe have more than just the fighter summit to help fighters address financial issues like taxes and preparing for their future? Maybe along the lines of a staff financial advisor or something like that?
Danny Castillo: That sounds like a great idea, but I don't really know. I wouldn't say I'm one of the smartest guys in the UFC, because trust me, I've done my fair share of spending my money on a bunch of crap that I regret.
Looking back on my early days in the WEC when I used to party a lot, man I used to have some wild nights, some ragers where I would drop hundreds or even thousands of dollars in a night on bottle service at the club or hit the bars spending crazy money.
There's no sports organization that's responsible for any individual's money. At the end of the day, it's on you. I've learned from the mistakes of others. I heard Allen Iverson was asking for money outside a mall. That's sad to me, to have that much money...like, I'll never see that amount of money that some athletes see, but at the same token, I'll never put myself in a position where I'll be begging for money.
I push myself so hard and put my body through so much, I deserve an early retirement, and that's what I have planned. I've reads Rich Dad Poor Dad, I listen to Dave Ramsey, I listen to podcasts on this stuff and I want to try to get my money to work for me. I think anybody, and I don't care if you work for the UFC or UPS, should be paying more attention to their finances. Life isn't about money, but when you have none, life sucks.
I don't ever want that to happen to me, so I started my business, and am now looking to open my second location. I've got money put away, I've got a couple IRAs and am looking into some real estate-rental properties and stuff like that. That doesn't happen without winning fights, and for me, Saturday is important. It starts all over again there.
*You can listen to this excellent interview via the embedded player below. Danny's audio starts at the 31:00 mark.*