UFC lightweight Danny “Last Call” Castillo knows what it’s like to face adversity and come out a better person for it.
Last December in front of his hometown crowd in San Jose, Calif., against Edson Barboza, Castillo lost a fight he felt he had a very good opportunity to win.
“That was a tough one,” Castillo told MMAWeekly.com. “But everything happens for a reason. I didn’t press it in the third round and let an opportunity slip through my hands.”
Rather than let the loss eat away at him, Castillo hunkered down and kept moving forward.
“I didn’t really take any time off,” he said. “I went back to work and continued to train with the best team in the world and the best coaches in the world. I continued to keep the faith, work hard, and that’s always going pay off in the long run.”
Castillo’s efforts paid off in April when he knocked out Charlie Brenneman in the second round of their fight at UFC 172.
“Heading into the fight, I knew I had a tough fight on my hands,” said Castillo. “Charlie’s fought some of the best welterweights in the world. (Anthony) ‘Rumble’ Johnson hit him right in the face and (Brenneman) just got right back up. He’s just a tough, tough dude.
“(Brenneman) came out in the first round and was super-explosive – like I expected him to – and it was pretty competitive. Before the second round I had good instructions from my corner and was able to change levels and hit him with that right and that was the fight.”
For Castillo, the win over Brenneman was validation for everything he’s been working towards.
“It’s good to have a dominant knockout like that,” said Castillo. “I’ve been in this game a long time and it felt amazing to get the reception that I got after the knockout. It was everything I wanted.”
Castillo will look to win his second straight fight and fourth in his last five fights when he takes on Tony Ferguson at UFC 177 on Aug. 30 in Sacramento. It’s very much a fight he feels that could catapult him to the next level should he come out on top.
“I take my career and everything I do very seriously and very personally and have had highs and lows,” said Castillo. “A win over Tony I think will shoot me to the upper echelon of the division. A big win – a dominating win – over him will get me a fight with someone in the Top 15 (rankings).
“I’ve lost two fights in my hometown (of Sacramento), but you know what they say, third time’s the charm.”