While suffering just the second loss of his career three years ago was a setback for light-heavyweight up-and-comer Angel DeAnda, he feels it ultimately helped because it made him rethink his path in MMA.
“I was a heavyweight and took a really big fight against James Irvin and I saw a great opportunity and wanted to jump on it,” said DeAnda. “He’s a seasoned veteran and he got out of a situation that normally I put someone in and it’s over, and he got out of it, and I got rocked and lost it.
“The loss gave me a reality check and humbled me. I’m really glad it happened early in my career. After that, I made the decision to go to 205 and I’ve taken down all my strength and power with me that I had at heavyweight and things have been going my way.”
Since the loss to Irvin, DeAnda has won four fights in a row, and most recently claimed the Tachi Palace Fights 205-pound championship in his last win in November.
With his string of victories, DeAnda has earned an opportunity to step up into the big time at the World Series of Fighting 4 show in Ontario, Calif., against veteran kickboxer Tyrone Spong.
“I’ve been training for more than a stand-up war,” said DeAnda. “Even though we’d both like that, anything can happen.
“If he goes out there and wants to stand, we’ll stand. If he goes out there and tries to take me down and gets me down, whatever. If I get a great opportunity to take him down, of course I’ll take him down and try to finish the fight.”
DeAnda told MMAWeekly.com that while this is his biggest opportunity to date, the pressure in the fight is on his opponent’s shoulders, freeing him to fight as he’d like.
“I feel like I’m the underdog in this fight, so all the pressure is on Tyron Spong,” said DeAnda. “All I have to do is show up and show people what I can do.”
Having grown from his last loss, DeAnda now looks forward to bigger things, starting with his WSOF debut.
“I got to sit back and think of what’s in front of me now and not take anything for granted anymore and to not get big-headed anymore,” he said. “I was on a roll and I believe I’ll still be on a roll. I believe I’ll pick up where I left off in September.
“I’ve got big things ahead of me now and I’ve got to stay focused and I’ll be ready for this. I’m ready to go out there on Aug. 10 against Tyrone Spong and shock the world.”