Following nearly a year layoff, Utah-based fighter Dave Castillo finally got back to action towards the end of 2015 and ended up splitting his two bouts.
Normally going one of two wouldn’t be considered a good thing, but for Castillo, his fights helped him realize a change was needed, and one he feels will help him in many ways going forward.
“I spent most of the year looking for a fight,” Castillo told MMAWeekly.com. “I didn’t fight until October. I basically started my gym, The Garage MMA, and I spent most of the year coaching and training alongside my team and looking for fights.
“I ended up getting a fight in Chechnya at 170 pounds, but ended up losing that one, so I decided if I was going to fight at a high level I needed to get back down to 155 pounds where I’d been dominant. Then I took a fight here locally and ended up winning that fight by unanimous decision. I felt right back at home at 155 pounds.”
When comparing the two weight classes, Castillo notes there is a big difference between fighting at welterweight and lightweight for him.
“With average, mid-level, 170-pound guys, I’m fine, but when you get to higher level guys, they’re monsters and are huge and hit hard,” said Castillo. “It makes a big difference when you’re equally skilled, but one guy has a lot more weight. It’s a big deal.
“When I got hit by Bristol Marunde at 170 pounds, it was only the second time in my career I’d been dropped by a strike. Then in Chechnya, Abubakar Vagaev hit me so hard I was blind. I’ve never felt that at lightweight. “
Castillo (19-7) will look to make the move to 155 pounds pay off when he faces late replacement Thiago Moises (6-1) for the vacant RFA lightweight title on Friday night in Orem, Utah.
“I’ve just got to fight him,” said Castillo of his fight strategy. “I don’t have a big game plan. My intention is just to fight and take it different places and see where he’s most uncomfortable and keep him there.
“My training is on-point, my cardio is there, my body is healthy, my weight is good, and so I’m ready to go. I’m going to fight my ass off and do my best. I just make sure that I’m ready, that I haven’t cut any corners, show up as prepared as I can possibly be and give it hell.”
Following the difficulties he had last year, Castillo isn’t going to get caught up on thinking too much about the future. For now he’s got his mind solely set on Friday night’s fight.
“Usually I just take the fights as they come,” said Castillo. “I focus on them one at a time. I never look past anyone. A lot of people say the RFA is a springboard to the UFC, and I understand that, but right now my task at hand is to (win the RFA belt) and that’s what I’m focused on.”