It seems like only yesterday that the World Fighting Federation held its inaugural event, and hometown favorite George Castro emerged as a heavyweight standout within the organization.
George won his first fight in the WFF by impressive fashion, earning a KO victory over Matt Howard in the main event.
In doing so Castro became one of two men that master matchmaker Thom Ortiz saw fit to compete for the WFF HW title. The other man was Esteves Jones, who also won that night in decisive fashion.
Castro and Jones met for that title and unleashed their weapons of mass destruction on one another.
In a fight that had the entire venue on its feet with heavy punches and a blistering pace, Esteves Jones found the edge he needed, earning a KO victory over Castro.
Regardless of the outcome, the fight was a competitive one in the eyes of Thom Ortiz, and worthy of an immediate rematch.
Now the champion Jones is set to make his first title defense on October 16th against the man he fought so hard to defeat when he initially won the belt. Both men have improved, both men are ready, and both men are looking to give the fans what they want one more time at the WFF’s “Redemption” event later this month.
Hurtsbad.com earned a moment of Mr. Castro’s time as well as his world class corner-man, WEC BW Champion Dominick Cruz. They discussed the upcoming fight, and what fans can expect.
Castro discussed how his preparation has been going leading up to fight night, and where he is at mentally and physically.
“I feel 100%, there are no excuses this time, I feel great. I'm in shape, my cardio is off the charts right now. I'm ready to go, no injuries other than the little kinks that we get during camp. I'm focused, I wish it was tomorrow, I'm ready to go.”
Castro feels he wasn’t the fighter he knows he can be last time out, and cherishes the opportunity to showcase to both Jones and the fans what he feels is his optimum capability. He talked about what it meant to him that he was offered a second shot.
“It means the world to me. I want to thank Jones’ camp for taking the fight, they didn't have to take it, they didn't have to give me a rematch.”
Castro draws great motivation from the outcome of their last match. He feels he is in a much better place this time out.
“I think about Jones every day all day. When I wake up in the morning I think about Jones. If he is going to beat me he will have to beat me at my best, and he hasn't yet.”
Another form of motivation for Castro is his deep fan base in the Tucson area. Now feeling his mind is right, he wants to put on a great show for them all.
“I’m excited, I just can’t wait. Last time I wished I had three weeks left when I only had a week. Now I wish it was tomorrow night, I wish it was tonight. I need this fight, not only for me, but for Tucson, Arizona. They have my back so much, and I appreciate everybody out there.”
Castro talked about the keys to winning this fight being found in his ability to trust in his skills. Confidence is key.
There is one more advantage Castro brings into the cage with him. “I'm tough, I’ve got a big Mexican Tucson heart. He is going to have to kill me this time to get me out of there.”
Castro believes in himself, as do those who rally behind him. His corner man for this fight in particular feels with the right focus Castro will find his hand raised and a belt around his waist.
Dominick Cruz is a dear friend of Castro’s, and is going to be joined by UFC veteran Brandon Vera in Castro’s corner come fight night. Dom had this to say about what it will take to get the victory.
“What it is going to come down to in this fight is really establishing the game plan, and focusing on listening to the game plan when he goes in there and fights.”
The Champ Cruz added: “That's what always makes fights, styles make fights, you've got to figure out a way beat everybody’s style. That's what George is going to be able to do.”
Castro talked about what it means to have an old friend and world class competitor like Cruz in his corner.
“It’s great, I’ve got a great team down here in Tucson, but just having Dominick’s knowledge and trusting him is great. The guy has done wonders for his career. Just having him in my corner, that confidence, I mean he's number one in the world in his weight class, you can’t get any better than that.”
Castro went on to say, “He’s also bringing down Brandon Vera to help him corner me, so I'm going to have a nice corner and I'm going to put all my trust in them and whatever they say to do I'm going to do in that cage and I'm going to come out with that win.”
As mentioned before The World Fighting Federation is still just a baby in MMA years. The promotion has been plugging out high quality and explosive MMA shows, but it hasn't established itself over the long term as of yet.
Castro had this to say to any fight fans curious about what the WFF has meant to Tucson and fighters from the Arizona desert.
“It has brought a lot to Tucson. It showcases a lot of Tucson fighters. We are not really known for MMA, like where Dominick is at. He is at the core of MMA in San Diego at the Alliance Gym.
"I think the WFF has shown that Tucson does have some talent, and they are giving us an opportunity to showcase it, and hopefully some of us can get into some bigger shows down the road.”
Castro drew a comparison between the quality of the WFF and some more well-known organizations, and what he says is no exaggeration what so ever.
“WFF is exciting. It’s just like a small WEC or UFC show. The quality that they put out is great. Dominick has been here to corner me before, K.J. Noons was here last time, we have had Cain Velasquez here, it’s just a great show.”
Castro appealed directly to the fight fans.
“Anybody that loves MMA the way that we do, don't miss this show, get your tickets, you're going to want to see this rematch. It’s not just my fights, all the fights are good. There are other guys from Tucson fighting, come on out and support these guys.”
If you want some tickets, Castro welcomed anyone to hit him up.
“Come down to Boxing Inc., I'm there every night training from six to eight. Come down there and watch us train and hang out and get the inside perspective on what we go through. Nobody really knows what we go through for eight to ten weeks. They only see us walk out to the cage.”
“Training sucks, fighting is the fun part, so come down and hang out man, I’ve got tickets for sale.”
Castro will tell you he has no fans, but as Dom Cruz put it, “it’s crazy when Castro walks to the cage, people start crying and fans in wheel chairs find themselves able to stand up and walk.”
While that may be an exaggeration, Castro has one of the most loyal and supportive fan bases this writer has ever seen on the regional level. When he walks out, the electricity is explosive, and honestly can’t be described.
In closing, the “Brown Bomber,” as Castro is known, had a few words for his followers.
“I don't have fans, I just have a lot of friends and family that come see me fight. I know everybody that comes and I really appreciate that support, I love you guys out there. I just hope you guys keep coming. I'm going to go out there and lay it on the line. When I win they win so it’s just the whole Tucson thing, that's my pride just growing up here, I just love it.”
As for his opponent, WFF Champion Esteves Jones Castro had this to say. “Be ready man, you didn't fight George Castro the last time, I don't know who that guy was that you fought last time. Just be ready because it’s going to be a war.”
“I'm excited man, I'm going to drop these bombs. I'm ready, I don't want to be disrespectful, I just want to go have a good fight and give the fans their money’s worth. That's what I want to do.”
Dominick Cruz also added a closing statement to the interview as well.
“I’m excited, I know George puts his heart and soul into training and that's how he goes out and fights. I love cornering people like that, with that heart, it makes it easy to be there for them.”
Overall it sounds like Castro has put together all the right ingredients to put on a show for the people fortunate enough to land tickets to an event that is sure to sell out.
With the mindset and support that he has going for him at this moment, it shows how seriously he takes this shot at redemption against a very talented and dangerous champion in Esteves Jones.
There is no doubt he has taken the proper steps to ensure he has given himself and his camp the best chance at success. Now the cards have been dealt, the chips are all in, and it’s time to see who has played their hand the best come fight night.
If you’re a fight fan within distance of this event, do yourself a favor, don’t miss it, and damn sure don’t blink. You won’t be disappointed.
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This article originally featured at Hurtsbad.com