While it’s been over a year since featherweight Justin Gonzales picked up a unanimous decision victory over Zach Zane at Dana White’s Contender Series in June of 2019, he has been able to keep a positive mind of things due to his life outside the cage.
Unlike other fighters who were sidelined in multiple ways during the coronavirus lockdown, Gonzalez was able to continue to work, along with get in as much training as he could given the circumstances.
“For the most part my life didn’t change quite as much,” Gonzalez told MMAWeekly.com. “My job is considered essential, so I was still working. My girlfriend was staying at my place. Some of my best friends and training partners live close to me, so we were getting together and moving around a little bit.
“Granted, the training wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be, but we were still going on runs, still lifting, still getting movement in, so for the most part my life didn’t change that drastically. When things opened back up the coaches were on it and got me in right away.”
While he had to make adjustments in his training over the last year, Gonzalez is happy with the progression in his game he’s been able to make.
“After the Contender (Series) fight, I had surgery and had to take a little time off, and then we really focused a lot on boxing and really cleaned up our hands, creating these angles, but as soon as I could start grappling again, we did.
“I got some of the best grapplers in the world to come in and roll with me. I had some of the (University of Northern Colorado) guys here in Greeley at my convenience, and they love to work with me and I love to work with them. I’m teaching them about the MMA world and they teach me about wrestling.”
On Friday in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Gonzalez (10-0) will return to action to face Jake Childers (8-0) in the featherweight championship main event of LFA 84.
“Childers is tough,” Gonzalez said. “He’s 8-0 for a reason. But I feel like I’m on another level. He’s going to be in for a rude awakening. I’m going to beat him up on the feet. I’m going to take him down. He’s going to realize he doesn’t have anything for me and he’s going to break.
“When he realizes he doesn’t have the answers and there’s a different level, he’s going to break. I’m going to stop him, get my hand raise, and walk out of there with a check.”
Gonzalez is looking to ride the LFA title to the next level. It’s a move he feels should come sooner than later.
“I feel like I deserve it,” said Gonzalez. “I feel like I’ve busted my ass and worked hard for this. I don’t know what else I have to do to prove that I’m ready.
“I’m 10-0 going up against the highest level guy that will actually accept the fight. I dominated on the Contenders Series Fight, I held the title with Sparta for quite a while, I’m fighting for a title on the LFA; let’s talk: the UFC, Bellator, ONE, PFL. I’m a free agent, let’s talk some business. I want to fight for the biggest promotion I can.”