Keeping a high work rate is nothing new for featherweight veteran Mike Santiago. Across various combat sports, there’s often not a time when he’s preparing for one fight or another.
In particular, recently Santiago has put together a really good run in MMA, where he’s been undefeated for two years, coming off a stretch where he was unable to find the kind of consistency he wanted.
“I’ve taken a few losses in a row before, and it opened my mind to what I had to do and what I had to concentrate on,” Santiago told MMAWeekly.com. “I’m 7-0 this past year, so I think I’m doing okay, and I’m just doing my best to reach the next level.”
Santiago is a firm believer in that staying active is the key for him staying sharp, resulting in having no fewer than five MMA fights a year since 2010.
“I’ve been staying busy since my first pro fight,” he said. “People kept telling me that’s a lot and that I was still young and to take my time, but a lot of guys get caught up in taking weeks or months off, and I get a weird feeling if I’m out of the gym for a couple days.”
Santiago (17-9) will look to pick up his second win of 2016 when he takes on top prospect Luis Saldana (11-4) in a 145-pound co-main event at RFA 39 in Hammond, Indiana, on Friday, June 17.
“Luis is a tough kid, but you’ve got to be tough in this sport, so I think it’s going to come down to the hard work and all the time I put in to get better,” said Santiago. “I don’t take anything from Luis. He’s got a solid record and it’d be a great win for me to beat someone like that.
“My preparation leading up to this fight has been great and I have the utmost confidence, and I’ve got to just believe in myself and my skills and everyone around me, and I’ll come out victorious.”
Having put himself on the right track after some difficulty over the first part of his career, Santiago’s attention is now focused on taking that next step in his career in the near future.
“If you’re going to be a professional in this sport, there’s one place you want to be, and that’s the UFC,” Santiago said. “I’m still young, but I have a lot of experience for my age, and my dream is to be in the UFC competing against the best. I know I can be there.”