When he first started in MMA, lightweight Lewis “Lethal” Gonzalez had no idea he’d be at the point where he’d be headlining a major event broadcasted on live TV.
“I’m happy with the way I’ve been performing, obviously, because I’m 9-0, and everything’s been going good,” Gonzalez told MMAWeekly.com. “I got into this sport to just kind of get a couple fights and see where it goes from there. Things just started kind of taking off.”
Having gotten into MMA at the behest of some wrestling friends, Gonzalez feels his game has come a long way from when he first turned pro in 2011.
“When I first started I was more of a wrestler doing MMA, and now I’m a total mixed martial artist,” he said.
“At first I was just taking down black belts in jiu-jitsu and was getting tapped out, and now I’m actually tapping those guys out or taking them down and grinding them out. Also, now I find myself being fine with standing-up with people and trading with good boxers and Muay Thai fighters.”
Last year, Gonzalez made his World Series of Fighting debut by defeating veteran Antonio McKee in a bout he feels established him as someone to watch.
“I was trying to keep it a little bit standing, but it kind of turned into a grappling match,” said Gonzalez. “Everyone knows Antonio for his grappling, and after that first round I was actually out-grappling him.
“He’s a veteran of the game and has been in a lot of big promotions, so I think it really put my name on the map to beat somebody like him.”
The win over McKee has placed Gonzalez (9-0) in a headlining bout at Saturday’s WSOF 12 in Las Vegas against Bellator and CFA veteran Luis Palomino (22-9).
“I’ve just got to play it smart,” said Gonzalez. “I feel I have the advantage in this fight.
“I feel like (Palomino’s) goal is to knock me out – and my goal is to knock him out too – but I feel like that’s the only way he can win the fight. I want to finish the fight too, whether it’s knockout or submission, but as long as I play it smart and don’t play his game and just trade on the feet, I’ll be all right.”
Should Gonzalez prove successful against Palomino, it will be one more step forward towards something bigger in the coming year.
“I want to keep putting together a string of victories over quality opponents and show that I’m serious and somebody coming up in this sport,” said Gonzalez. “I want to show that I can hang with anybody at any level.”