In recent years, the Arizona desert has become recognized for forging top-shelf, world-class mixed martial artists. Many of today’s top competitors either do or have called Arizona their home.
They got their start competing locally and honing their skills in front of their home crowd.
It is in organizations like the World Fighting Federation that the next generation of Arizona fighters will have a platform to sharpen their blade.
Such is the case for their Heavyweight Champion, Esteves Jones. He is a fighter that has competed twice for them and each appearance has shown a different fighter.
His progression in such a short time under the WFF banner is pretty impressive. He has earned quite a reputation with two hard-fought wins over dangerous opponents, one of which—George Castro—Jones knocked out to win the title.
Castro is looking for some payback, and Jones is giving him another fight and a shot at his new title belt.
The champ took some time out to talk about his upcoming fight with Hurtsbad.com recently. The champ sounded confident and ready to defend his title.
He talked about how he feels leading up to the main event on October 16th.
“Things have been going good. I’ve been training, working on anything that I feel like I have a hole in. I'm working hard and keeping my conditioning and my strength up.”
As Jones became more focused on his training, he came across new assets as he shed approximately 40 pounds.
“It’s done wonders for me. I move faster, I'm lighter, I'm more powerful at a lighter weight than I was when I was heavier. It’s great cutting down all that weight.”
Now in the best shape of his life and with a HW strap around his waist, Jones is looking at his first title defense. With his knockout victory over George Castro being such an electrifying fight for the fans, it made sense to see if Jones would hook ‘em up with Castro again.
“They came at me and said they would like to see a rematch with me and Castro, and that the fans want it. I can’t do this without the fans, so I wanted to keep them happy.”
Even with a Jones KO over Castro, the fight itself was fast paced with bad intentions on both sides. The finish was obviously decisive, but the fight was quite compelling. A rematch by these two fighters, as motivated as they both are, should be another great showdown for the fans.
And both these guys have great fanbases. Jones has a lot of supporters in the MMA community who have seen him evolve and seen him progress: most importantly, his family.
I had the pleasure of speaking with his father briefly after he won the title, and his pride in his son shined like the sun. And the champ takes a lot of pride in his family’s support.
“It’s awesome, my family supports me 100 percent. If I need a baby sitter to go to the gym, they watch the kids for me. They do whatever they can do to help me achieve my dream. My family is wonderful.”
Jones added, “It’s just wonderful to be able to do these things, and use these skills and these gifts that were given to me by my parents.”
Jones is right at home with the WFF. He can always be found at their events even when he is not competing. He enjoys the promotion both as an athlete and a fan. He boasts the quality of the competition as being a big part of that.
“I feel like they have the best fighters in Arizona. For that last fight, they even pulled a guy out of California. They are looking for talent anywhere. I feel like it’s a good organization to cut your teeth in, to get sharp and to learn your craft.”
As for his rematch with George Castro, Jones is looking to give Castro more of the same when they mix it up for the fans one more time.
“I don't think it’s going to be too different. I know he has been talking, saying, ‘It’s going to be tougher,' and that I haven’t met the real Castro, was the statement I’ve heard.
“That doesn't really matter to me. For me, I think we are going to go back out there and these things that he has been working on the last few months, when I hit him, he is just going to go right back to Castro.
“He is just going to do the same things he did in that last fight, and I'm just going to do me.”
Esteves is a strong believer in the idea that being a mixed martial artist is a constant evolution, and he has embraced those ethics in his career. In the champ’s eyes, that is the separation between himself and his opponent.
He spreads his time grooming his evolution between three gyms. Blackout is where he goes for his strength and conditioning and his Muay Thai. Lee’s Boxing is where he trains his hands. Apex MMA is where he is getting his education in the grappling arts.
The champ is staying true to his quest for knowledge in all areas. That is a great foundation for the rest of his career, a career that has clearly got off on the right foot.
Jones had a final message for fight fans in the Old Pueblo regarding his upcoming rematch with Castro.
“You will not be disappointed. I’m coming ready, there are not going to be any excuses, there isn't going to be any slack on my part, I’m coming in ready to fight. Your money is well spent for not just my fight but all the fights.
“That whole card is going to be awesome, but the main event is going to blow it up.”
For those who are familiar with the WFF and their fight cards, that is no understatement whatsoever. The WFF puts on a hell of a show, the kind that leaves the place buzzing. Last time out, not one fight went the distance, if that is any indication.
Esteves Jones is looking to be a part of that Saturday night. He will have his chance against a tough opponent in George Castro.
If the last fight represents what fans should expect this time out, let's just say they didn’t go in there to outpoint each other. It should be another explosive main event, and the fight fans are chomping at the bit to see it go down.
If you’re a fight fan in the Tucson area, don't be the one left mad on Sunday morning wishing you had gone to see the war known as Jones vs. Castro II.
The World Fighting Federation’s Redemption event is one you don't want to miss.
To hear this interview in its entirety select the Hurtsbad Radio icon at Hurtsbad.com where this article was originally featured.