Ep. #53 – Anthony Romero

Anthony Romero is a Canadian mixed martial artist competing out of Ontario, Canada. The Taekwondo blackbelt will be competing on Dana White’s Contender Series this summer.

Anthony Romero: So uh first things: first, how is a house quarantine been for you ma’am? It’S it’s been. It’S been the same, I’m not a big party person or someone who goes out a lot pretty much just training and sleeping and eating, and and that’s pretty much it so. The only difference is, I’m spending a lot of time with my family, which, which is really nice, because it gives me that energy and and and when I do have to Train it’s it’s it’s good, everything’s, all good. What’S the I mean. Obviously, training had to be very different because I’m sure a lot of it was from home you’re in Toronto right or closer to Niagara Falls a small town called Welling: okay yeah, I’m in Nova Scotia, so everything was shut down for four months. So what was the gym like it? Was it all online classes, or were you doing a lot of stuff on your own there yeah for myself, I been training, my little brother he’s, a boxer he’s won Golden Gloves championships and all that so we’ve been hitting pads. He holds for me, I hold for him, we’ll go for runs weights, we got a bag in the bag, so we’re doing a lot of training at my house and other than that. It’S just not having the the partners, but it’s it’s all the same same schedule. He he wrestles, he does Jitsu and and we work together and as much as we can anyways and then yeah. So it’s weird because usually you know with siblings one ends up following the other and the exact same footsteps. Why I’m a made for you and why? Boxing for him like what why didn’t you guys go down the same route? It’S I don’t know it’s a good question. Maybe eventually he’ll hold transistor, damn I made, but my job is to do what what I enjoy and his job is to do what he enjoys. If it’s, if it’s not even in boxing, he wants to do in the future and he’s in Excel and do something great and then I’m happy for him. He doesn’t have to do exactly what I have to do same with my sister. She she does some jujitsu, but she’s, also a star in gymnastics. She wants to be in the Olympics one day as well, so so yeah great things come in with it. With those two they’re very athletic family. You got there yeah yeah with ya with us. It was a two older brothers who were swimmers and then the little one ended up playing soccer so very similar where we ended up taking different different routes. That’S awesome: yeah soccer player, okay in candidates. It’S it’s hard right! It’S! It’S tough yeah, my yeah yeah, my brother got spotted, fortunately, when he was seven so he’s overseas playing for playing in Switzerland, but if he had continued down the road here there isn’t there’s been nothing available for him like Toronto or something but definitely not there’s no Future, really in soccer in Canada, yeah so uh, first things. First, man, congratulations on home being announced to to fight on the contender series. How does it feel it’s a one step closer to my dream, every every interview they asked me: what’s what the goal is, and I always say it’s the UFC. I got ta get there and I will get there and now it’s like one more step. I’M climbing up the ladder and and and I’m almost there and then I can set my new, my new set of goals and and yeah. It’S a dream come true, but I still have to keep my head down and and focus on what I had to accomplish. So here now seven know as a professional. How do you summarize – I guess your overall career so far, and what’s your your analysis on your fights, I’d stayed very fortunate. A lot of people have a tough road, especially at the beginning. People started with a an up-and-down record. I’Ve been very fortunate that I’ve had the right opponents. I guess that I could stay tough guys that really pushed me to my limits, whether it’s jujitsu striking and it’s not just padded records, there’s a lot of guys who have who have easy, easy opponents and they end up finding out in the UFC that they they Don’T fit because it’s just too much for them, but I’ve had guys who, like I said, I’ve tested me and even at the amateur level, I’ve gone against good wrestlers, good strikers and my second amateur fight. I lost to arrest there and I learned from it and now I love wrestling and wrestling my favorite thing to do and then now I’m also incorporating my striking and mixing it up. So it’s it’s a very fortunate. So far, so you hear about guys going like you said you hear about guys going in the UFC with undefeated records, but you also hear about a lot of guys who have fought through adversity, early on their career faced losses, and they say that you know the Loss is the best way to learn a lesson. How have you, I guess, adapted fight to fight, knowing that you know I won last fight, while one man I just go in with the exact same game plan. So how do you stay motivated and how do you improve your game? Without you know a loss or a lesson. I think it’s that the tiny battles that people don’t notice, whether like it just a position that you lose and in a fight you learn from it. You don’t always have to lose. Yes, you get a lot of benefit from it, but I feel like that’s the that’s the extreme of learning, but you can also learn like the little tiny battles I’ve been caught in submissions that I’ve gotten out of, and I’ve learned from from it and that’s kind Of how I’m able to grow and going over those positions with my coaches, it’s it’s just people don’t realize that you that you don’t always have to lose to learn. You can learn from your mistakes and in every fight. So, what’s your sure I mean it’s brand-new news. I’M sure you haven’t had a whole lot of time to dig into your opponent. What’S your overall thoughts of Mike reading on the research you’ve done so far, I don’t really it’s pretty much, my coaches, so I I know he’s probably a great opponent he’s gon na be my toughest opponent for sure. I know that he’s fighting for exactly what I want and I know the the passion I have in this sport and I’m sure he has the same so it’s gon na be a great show and we’re gon na do our everything to get this contract. So I’m excited to test my skills against someone great, so the the contender series is quite different because the goal isn’t always just to win. There’S guys they’re watching you making you you put on an exciting show, is a game plan a little bit different. Knowing that there’s a lot on the line – and you know a finish – means so much more in this fight than it wouldn’t any other fight, I think I’ve had that criticism. My whole career, because my my game is just so dominant in the wrestling and the striking. I’M able to mix it up and it’s I’m able to control the entire fight just by just dominate people on the ground and also my last fight. I was able to finish it by by NACO, so it’s it’s pretty much. I really know how to explain it. It’S uh, it’s the same pressure. I’Ve had this pressure for for a long time, I’m really used to it. People saying oh, you should have. You should have knocked this guy out and all this or you need to give this knockos. You cannotice, but you have see so all this like it’s it’s normal for me and you’ve seen what that pressure has done for me over my last couple. Fights I’ve had a rear naked choke finish. I thought a knock! Oh, so you can see that I can finish the fight and it’s just going to be the same for my next fight. Another thing that adds a lot of pressure is an empty arena. You’Re gon na hear everything you’re gon na hear, pin, drops you’re gon na hear commentary you’re gon na hear everything. Have you ever competed in front of an empty arena and if not, how do you think that’s gon na gon na make it like impact your performance? Um pretty much it’s just like training at the gym. It’S lately, we’ve been we’ve been training without any music. Just hearing my coaches hearing, my teammates yelling, just like my bonus coaches, would be so it’s pretty much the same. Obviously, there’s a lot on the line. So that’s that’s pretty much it. I’Ve been through adversity, I’ve been through that pressure, I’ve been cut in in fights and all this and – and it’s like, I said it’s just gon na – be the same, and I’m just excited to get that contract and and achieve one of my goals and get one Step closer to my ultimate goal becoming a champion for for people who aren’t, I guess aware of your background and and what got you into the sport. What is your background? How did you get? How did you get into MMA? Obviously you were. You went to Brock University, so it’s weird to hear people go into Brock or these high level, universities and then transitioning MMA. So what got you into it yeah! So as a kid, my parents wanted me to have some sort of self defense. Some sort of martial arts and Taekwondo was the only thing in in welland where I live and and that’s what I did and I ended up getting my black belt, but I to slowly realize that breaking boards isn’t the best self-defense. It’S really flashy and it’s it’s a great way to to start martial arts, to learn, to learn the basics of how to throw a kick and all that. But I watched UFC fights at Anderson, Silva versus Patrick Cote and – and I just I loved it, it was. It was awesome, Anderson Silva, the huge role model and I another gym opened up here in Welland and I went there and I started doing kickboxing Jiu Jitsu and I just went on from there. I was training people who were competing in in MMA because they were legal age and just watching them come back and all happy after winning or coming back and and sad from losing and just seeing that that that option there of becoming a professional athlete. Just really optimized and it’s something that that I really wanted to do and it’s a huge passion of mine. You mentioned Patrick Cote, one of the pioneers of Canadian MMA. You see guys like George and Rory and all these guys. How does it feel to kind of follow in their footsteps and really represent Canada on a stage like the UFC or not? Quite yet, but the contender series I’m excited it’s very rare, to see a Canadian in the Catana series, let alone a UFC card. So I’m very excited to to fill up those those arenas and and and get some Canadians on the card. There’S a lot more Canadians coming at my gym, a lot of other gyms that I know of big stars coming up so so I’m excited and I’m very proud and happy to represent the country of Canada and also El Salvador. What see is there any worry about? The potential of having troubles getting back into Canada, obviously with the pandemic and the quarantine and all that stuff going on, is that something that’s crossed your mind like I’m gon na get over the states. How am I gon na get back yeah? It’S something that I will figure out when we get there it’s as long as I can get there and achieve my gold and then I’ll be happy and we’ll worry about that. After are you worried about getting a stuff up your nose and all that stuff? All the tests yeah how uh, what’s your take on all like the UFC doing what they’re doing? Obviously, now things are starting to open up, you hear Bellator, LFA and Victor organizations are starting to put on events, but what’s your take as a fighter and someone who obviously wants to compete? What was your take when the UFC initially said we’re just gon na put on these events? We’Re gon na spend a bunch of money, we’re gon na put them on for the fans. What what’s your take from a fighter perspective as a fighter? It’S awesome because it’s what we do for for as their job great it’s how we get paid. If there’s no fights, we don’t get paid at all and just sit and train, and I mean potentially get hurt and and not do anything at all right on the medical side, it’s probably not the safest thing, but but they’re doing doing their best to keep everyone Safe there’s been cases where some fighters have been I’ve, had the coronavirus or their coaches and they’ve dealt with it and and and fixed it. So so I I’m sure they’re doing the best we can – and it’s entertaining for sure, especially these last couple cards. But I’m happy with it and and it’s the goal of mine and I’m gon na try to achieve it and obviously be as safe as possible. There is a lot of attention surrounding some of the fights these past couple weeks, one being a Mike Perry having his girlfriend in his corner as someone who’s going into the contender series. Is that so that you’d consider being like you know what I’m just gon na bring my girlfriend screw coaches, my girlfriend, but right stick with my coaches and maybe one day, maybe one day she can be in my corner, but right now I really need to focus On on the goal – and she definitely helps me – she’s a university wrestler at Brock, University and and yeah that’d be cool, but right now it will focus on my coaches. I can only bring two, so that’s my excuse right now. Big fights they’re coming up on fight island. What’S your prediction for the main event: Gilbert Burns, Kumar woman, and would you because they’re fighting their teammates? How what’s your take on teammates fighting it’s interesting because they pretty much know everything about each other. They’Ve done many rounds together, but, what’s cool is that they’re there reaching out to different coaches? I don’t know what Gilbert Burns is doing exactly, but I’ve seen some videos of come out. Who’S been training with Justin Gay Chi over there and and just getting a different different take on fighting some different different skills, which is, which is what you need, because if both guys know what each other are gon na do then then it’s it’s a weird matchup Right but it’s what you have to do in the sport right go burns wants that title, and this is the only ways and they get it. I’M sure he doesn’t want to wait to see what’s gon na happen, so he’s a fighter and kymaro’s a fighter and they’re gon na see you is the best on that day. What’S your: what’s your prediction, it’s it’s tough because I feel like there’s more options for for Gilbert burns to win by submission and then by knockout as well. So it’s it’s I’ll, probably go with Gilbert burns, but but yeah. That’S that’s just my opinion and Peter you’re on vs., Jose Aldo. I love this fight. I know a lot of people have given it a hard time because Jose all those coming off back-to-back losses, but he goes down as one of the greatest of all time and if anyone deserves that shot, it’s him. What’S your prediction for that one! That’S another interesting! One because apparently Dave they’ve trained together as well, so I probably go with you on that. One he’ll be the champion and probably fight Funkmaster al Jemaine sterling. So I couldn’t help but notice. You’Ve got dodge written on your shirt. I have him coming on. I’M gon na interview him. He seems like an amazing guy. What’S your take on those guys they’re at Dodger, dodge management? Oh he’s, amazing, he’s he’s really helped me in my career. I would be in this position without him. I know that for sure he’s he’s paved the way for me to get to the top and we’re just we’re just getting started and and yeah. I can’t thank him enough with sponsors, just always checking in to see if I’m, okay and just guiding me to all the right ways and meeting the right people and yeah like I said I can’t thank him enough he’s helped me and many of my main training Partners who have connected with them and and yeah I’m very, very happy with him. Another question I have before I let you go I’ll. Ask a couple more one mm, a related one non mm, a related. Have you ever gone down to Tristar and is that something you’ve considered potentially did somewhere down the line moving to a gym with so much talent? So much experience the guys, like George guys, like Kevin Lee yeah yeah I’ve trained there many times, I probably say five or six times I’ve trained there. Since I was 18 and oh yeah, it’s an amazing experience. I thought she had a chance to spar with George. Obviously he took it easy on me, but but yeah it was 18 at the time and I didn’t really start a new wrestling. But yeah he’s he’s an amazing person. Very nice, very kind and the environment is awesome. Those guys were the best in jiu-jitsu the best in striking and yeah great facility there and I’d definitely recommend anyone any want to go train there for sure George being inducted in the UFC Hall of Fame. I was surprised he wasn’t already in there. To be honest, is he is he the goat for you or who is the goat for you yeah, so he’s the best of all time, her greatest of all time, he was able to wrestle with the best strike with the best, and he wasn’t he’s not the Best individual he’s not the best wrestler. You never wrestled in high school and he’s not the best striker, but he’s a to have that mind to mix everything together, which may make some makes him the greatest for sure and throw out the quarantine. What sorts of things have you been doing to keep yourself occupied? You mentioned family, you mentioned training, any TV shows any videogames, you’ve been doing. What have you been up to and how do you? How did you stay? Keep your mind occupied yeah, that games awesome and then, as for Netflix, trying to think maybe that recently started watching that show the Florida with my family. I don’t be heard of that one. It’S pretty funny, some funny things in there. You have to go through this off so of course, and they have to jump from from obstacle to obstacle without falling into the lava. It’S actually pretty funny some people getting some some gnarly accidents there and other than that. Just pretty much just training keeping in shape and and I’m glad I didn’t stop nothing I would think of it, but it did stop training that whole time because, like everything was up in the air and not knowing what was gon na happen, so I was still Running still hitting pads, everything was the same and and now I’m ten times better than when I was before so alright man. Thank you for the time. I appreciate it looking forward to seeing this fight man, I it’s it’s your time mana I mean you’re undefeated, seven and OH, going into this fight. So wishing you all the best and support from Canada we’re all behind you, man. Thank you so much. I really appreciate the time all the best man stay safe, wash your hands, don’t catch anything and all the best, all right perfect. Thank you.

Sergio Pineiro

Sergio Pineiro is the Founder of FighterPath.com and host of the Quarantinecast podcast. Based in Canada he is both a sports journalist and MMA enthusiast. He practices the sport but has a passion for the individual stories of training, fighting and living the fighting lifestyle.

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