Ep. #74 – Danny Chavez

Danny Chavez is a mixed martial artist who competes in the Featherweight division of the UFC. He recently captured the Global Legion Featherweight title which earned him an opportunity to compete in the UFC.


Danny Chavez: Yes, man, how are you doing how’s uh how’s your day been everything good. You know i just came from uh yeah. I just came from doing like a lot of stuff. Like i had to go to like an mri um, i had to train. I had to make schedule to train at the same time. Go do a since, because i’m fighting like really soon and they’re, throwing a lot of like paperwork at me. I got ta. Do physical, i got ta do blood exams, i got ta. Do uh mris there’s been a little bit of all of uh what it called, though a lot of errands. I got ta run this whole week, but everything is good so far. So congratulations, man, the newest, roster or newest member of the ufc roster. How does it feel to to hear that? Oh man, it’s great bro. You know i’ve been grinding for like 14 years to make this happen, and i finally did so i’m very excited. It wasn’t real til a few days ago, even though i signed about thursday last thursday until like about yesterday or the day before, is when it really hit me yeah. I i saw it and i was like okay, i have to reach out to him. I have to talk to him before his fight um. So how did you hear about the news? Was it a phone call from your manager? Was it were you? Where were you when you heard the news and how did you take it? You know um. I had for i felt like about july 18. I fought for the global legion title yeah i won and uh. You know we knew that that was going to help us to go somewhere. You know i everybody so far has been going to the contender. That’S like literally the the main, the the first option everybody’s going through, and i really thought that was going to happen for me too. You know i mean so i’m literally i’m i’m sleeping because right now, i’m in my bedroom i was sleeping and uh. My uh, my manager called keeps calling me he keeps calling me, but it wasn’t about that. Yet he was just letting me know. Oh look, you know he was telling me like we we’re trying to get you. We try to give you an opportunity to probably either either the contender or party that you see. We don’t know yet, but he was just like hitting me up, so i could be like start getting ready and start. You know, i guess just wanted me to start training again or just be ready, just be ready, and then i was like okay. You know, of course i i i had gone back to the gym already like a few days after the fight like i only took like five days off and i was already back in the gym. My fight was only one round two minutes, so i didn’t take that any damage, so i was able to go back to it really fast. So, like all right, you know that’s cool, so i get up. I do my thing: i’m you know i’m making breakfast everything and then he calls me again like about 15 or 20 minutes after and he tells me oh danny. I got bad news and good news and i’m like all right give me the bad news. I’M not like give me the bunnies first, you know might make me happy, you know and then he’s like. Oh the bad news is uh. I cannot get you in the contender series and i was like damn you know. I mean, like you know, that’s that’s where everybody wants to go so i i literally in my head. I was thinking. Okay, the good news is that he got me somewhere with a lot of money or you know another promotion or or he’s gon na tell me. I don’t know, i just didn’t know what the good news was and then like all right. So what’s the other girl was the other news and he’s like i got you a fire on. I got you a fire on ufc, 252 august 15 and i’m like. Are you serious, i’m like you’re lying to me and he’s like man? I want to be lying to you about this really crazy and i’m like bro you’re lying on me and he’s like nah man, i’m not lying to you. So i was like. Are you serious he’s like yeah bro and i’m like damn? You know i’m like i didn’t you know like. I said it was great because i i skipped the contender series. You know i mean, like i said as i, even if you make it to a contender, you’re still gon na win that fight, and even if you win that fight you see, any dana white would like that fight to be able to get in. You know what i mean, so it’s crazy, how like i i went straight to to fight and next saturday’s car. So i’m very happy who was the first person you uh? You called when you heard the news who was the first person you told uh. The first brother told one of my students uh. He was the miss justin, his mom he’s my best friend so yeah i uh, i texted. He didn’t pick up the phone. I called him twice and he still didn’t pick up the phone, but he texted me and my work was good and then i texted him back um just to let you know i’m fighting august 15 in the usc car 252 and he started texting me back. Oh hell, no, what are you talking about? I just started going crazy and he works in uh. He works in like um. He does a lot of like phone calls and like emails and like stuff, and he even told me bro, i lost because he talks to like doctor. He works in labs. He talks to doctors and stuff and he told me he even lost track of the conversation. I was having with a doctor at the moment, so he was the first person i hit up because you know like i’m a coach too i’m not just a student. I was i’m i’m a fighter, but i’m a coach as well, so he was one of the first guys. I told him. I told my other guys after that, and then i told my family and then i told then i started telling everybody, but i had to tell them to to keep it quiet because i couldn’t i couldn’t post it. Yet i had to wait till the news goes out. It gets out there first i was the first person to release it. I just want to put it out there. I got it. Thank you. Thank you um, so yeah, this fight is a quick turnaround. We mentioned that you had that fight two weeks ago. What was it like getting that belt? Did it feel like i’ve talked to a few people who have won belts outside of the ufc and they’re like it, doesn’t really feel like a real belt? Do you feel that way and was it bigger to win that belt, or was it bigger to get a phone call from the ufc? Oh, no, the funka to the ufc is big right now. You know what i mean, of course, but uh uh. I’Ll be honest. It’S like, if you compare it, but at that moment when i won that battle right, it meant a lot for me because i have fought for two titles before then i lost them. You know i mean this is my third shot of a title or you know regional competition, but uh. It was the third time uh i fight for a title, and i you know i didn’t want to lose this one either. You know, and i knew that this one, what this would mean for me. You know i mean i know this one will give me an opportunity to get somewhere so so yeah, but no, if you were to compare it, you know right now. My ufc debut is bigger than any anything i’ve done so before this you know yeah before that fight, you had a long layoff right. It was like about a year and a half uh between the last fight and the fight before that. What was the reason for that layoff was it injuries? Was it just not being able to find opponents? What was the reason for the long time off? Oh, what really happened is like uh one. We were looking for opportunities and i think we gambled too much. I think like what we’re trying to say that year of 2019 is when the contingency started like that started, but it got hot. That’S when everybody who started to get in the container. So we tried to get in the contender series and we didn’t want to really uh. We didn’t want to risk fighting if we knew, because i was nine and three at a time – and i just came from a back-to-back knockouts in 2018 and i found 2018 in march and then i found december and i got back to back knockouts. So we thought we were able to use that to be able to get into a contender and we tried and we tried and it just didn’t happen and then when we finally got did get a fight. It was in december of 2019, but the guy pulled out the week, the the weeknote the day before the weigh-ins, so i didn’t get to fight on december, so i was supposed to find 2019 and then on march i was going to fight for the title. I just fought, but the kobe 19 happened and it messed up everything, but then everything i rescheduled for july 18.. It seemed to kind of really come full circle and even though you did take some time off, it really kind of worked out. For you, i mean three fight win streak, all in first round tkos for people who haven’t watched your your fights, i i personally until until i saw you were signed, i never watched any of your fights. I i hadn’t even heard of your name. I’Ll be completely honest with you um, but uh, but what uh? What fight would you be like you got to watch this one of me if you’re gon na want to watch one of my fights watch that one you know. I think i think my last two. You know because uh i feel like uh, you know i, i have ten decisions and i have three finishes in the first round, which is my last three. If you could watch all my decisions, you know you’re gon na get to see more about me. You get to see because my last three fights have been straight stand up and knockouts, but my other ones you get to see a lot more. I go to the ground and i rest so that you know there’s more scrambles, there’s more everything, but i it’s not too it’s not because of my last three words the way you it went down, but it’s the most uh dedicated i’ve ever been. I feel like that’s, why i’m finishing fights, because i i’m putting everything on the line. Now i got older once i reached my 30s, that’s when i said you know, you know like it’s time to like stop getting distracted out there. Stop taking this person like this. Is really what i wanted to do like just put everything to put all the chips in like in poker? Just all chips in you know and that’s what i did for this one so i’ll say my last two because it’s been like my best performance. My last one, my the one that i fought for xfn in december and 2018. and that one i uh i showed a lot. I showed a lot of my kicks. I was able i was kicking the guy i was, i was uh. I barely got touched in that fight and i’m the fight man a lot because i’m fighting another colombian, it’s the only time i ever fought a colombian and we’re kind of fighting for the number one spot again. The best colombian out here you know, and my last one i was able to use more my boxing, because i i was upset of the one before, even though it was a great performance and people told me man, you barely got touched. What are you talking about? I’M like yeah, but i wanted to let go of my hands, i’m known for boxing, but i just i was able to capitalize on the kicks that guy was eating all my kicks, but in this one i was able to use my boxing because i always like To use my boxing and i was able to use, look at that – i tattoo these in my hands for a reason you know, so i i want to use them. You know so in this one i was able to really finish it with my hands. So you’ve fought on the regional circuit. Have you ever competed in an empty arena? Yeah the last one. The last one was a little empty, i’ll, say: 30 people were there, you know and i’ll say 15 and it will like split crowds and i even split across. I probably i really i’ll say i had i’ll – have fun here like about that. I know that they went over there for me because it was in tampa. So i’m in miami i’m known for it for making. I found my whole career in miami and i always told because i always sold 100 to 200 tickets and i always had a big crowd with me. You know this is the first time i didn’t have a crowd. It felt good. I actually felt you know. I feel like my first fight when i first started fighting, i didn’t, i didn’t sell tickets, i was not into marketing, i was not into instagram or facebook or twitter. None of that stuff. I was just i’ll just train. Do my job and go fight, so i felt just like that again and um um. This last fight is uh, the closest thing i’ll say to like not have a crowd, because they they only had they were only able to have 50 capacity in the arena which it was like, like i’ll say like it was like 60 people, there’s 70 people, but, Like half of not even half of them were for me, like i’ll, say, like only 10 10 people are there for me. Do you feel, like that’s going to benefit you, having no crowd being able to hear your corner being able to hear the other corner? The commentary and everything or do you think that uh it may not benefit you? It’S your style. You feed off the crowd. No, i never felt the crowd. I never like when people people say like the craft. I never thought of the crowd when one once i step in the cage and i’m doing my walk around, because i walk side to side and then they introduce me – and i do my little harlem shake and you know that’s my way. That’S like my signature entrance to the fight and once i get into the fight, the fight is a fight i’m not here. Like you know, i i had fight where the crowd is because, like i said like my like my uh, my my previous fight, not the last one because, like i told you, there’s no people the one before that one i sold about 180 tickets and everybody was Screaming my name, but i didn’t use that to to be more aggressive or anything. I i fight the fight that i need to fight. I don’t know i don’t care just scream my name and i’m winning, and it don’t matter like to me. I’M always gon na fight the fight. I got ta fight like i, it doesn’t play it doesn’t do anything for me. So tj brown is an opponent. Have you done much? Have you watched much film um? Do you watch film at all or do you just focus on you and you don’t really worry about him and if so uh? What do you see in him as an opponent i’ll, say um? I always say this to a lot of the interviews. I’Ve done. I don’t really study my guys so much have i seen them. Of course, i’ve seen them uh. Do i spend uh hours through of my day watching him? No, you know i mean i seen what he does. I seen a few things he does. What i do is i tell my guys the guys that i’m going to train with. I tell my guys. Do me a favor watch him and mimic him when we spark that’s what i tell him to do. I tell them to mimic him because at the end of the day, i need them to mimic him. I need to see uh. I need to to have like a a view of the way he does things you know so. Have i seen him yeah, but i’ve seen a lot of his uh previous fights that previous than the last two you know he did a contender series and he did he fought in the ufc once so. I seen the anything before that which it doesn’t tell me that much because you know people always evolve and they get better. So i got ta watch a a little more than last two i’ve seen only a little a little clips of him because you know you can’t find so much but um. I know he took the fight. Just like me. You know we both got the phone call on thursday. We both just accept the fight. I know he’s a wrestler, i know he throws he likes to kick. You know he like throw hay cakes, he switches stands here and there uh he throws his right. He you know he throws his hands out there uh he likes to be on top and um and then ground and pawn look he likes to look for the arm head and arm triangle. I’Ve seen some stuff about him. You know i mean but uh, i’m not that kind of guy that goes crazy, just watching them. I, like i like to worry about what i got to do. Do you feel like there’s any added pressure, because it is the ufc like? Do you feel like this fight like going into it? Are you a little more nervous than you would be a typical fight, because it’s the ufc everyone talks about octagon jitters and that people don’t perform to the highest level because they feel a little bit of pressure? I know you’re still a couple weeks away, but do you feel that pressure um, to be honest, like you, you, like, i said the fight just got real like about two days ago, even though i sang on thursday and i’ve been training since i’ve been turning. My ass off on 30 since thursday, hey hey, how can i say this um i got ta regardless uh, try not to think of the ufc. You know i mean i got ta, think of it like if i’m fighting him again in global leaders. You know what i mean i got ta make it make sure, because at the end of the day i fought a lot of a lot of top guys. You know my last guy was the number one guy in north carolina. I fought all the top guys from miami, and i mean i i i literally had fought a lot of the type guys beat some and lost to some too so he’s just another guy. You know what i mean. What makes the pressure is that you said the ufc, the cameras, the lights, the stage, so what i got to do is just try not to let that get to me and i’m trying my best to not let it happen. But of course you know this is a. This is an opportunity. I’Ve been looking for is it’s kind of like it’s like me, and my friend, uh rock weaver, he’s actually a goofy fighter himself and he might be announced too yeah september 12. he’s fighting soon. He we were talking about it. He told me like yo, you know we trained so hard to get here and once you get you’re like what’s next and then once you get here, you’re like okay, it’s like a new journey. You know i mean it’s like you’re, starting all over again because they don’t care about what you did before the ufc now now, although ufc only cares about what you do in there, you know so so yeah, like you know i i feel just like a thrill For my last fight, i feel just the same like in the sense of like you know. You get some jitters here and there like it’s the same thing to me at the end of the day, the fight is a fight and uh. What i try not to let the they get to me as, though is a stage you know i mean i try to in my mind, i’m fighting just another fight yeah, so um later on that evening, we’ve got, in my opinion, one of the biggest fights uh In a long long time and daniel cormier versus stipe miotic um, what’s your prediction on that fight? Do you, who do you see is who do you think is going to win that i fight well, if um, i think if i’m the one, i had premiere winning the second one and he was winning that if i’m not wrong, because i was watching at a Sports girl – and i think he got he got a little bit – uh, not like lazy. I don’t want to say lazy, but um when he started getting liver shots. He started like relaxing too much and he started when he really started feeling them is when everything started happening. I i like the work ethic that cormier has, i think, he’s one of those hard worker guys. So i think he’s i think, he’s gon na do his job. I think he’s gon na go out there and he’s gon na he’s gon na win the this the trilogy match. So i built uh the little platform i have uh in mma. I built it kind of by by making matchups, and so if, if there’s one fighter in the ufc uh, who maybe not now because you’ve got a fight coming up or somewhere down the line, you’d be like that’s someone, i’d love to test my skills against. Is there anybody in the ufc who you wish now present or formerly? Is there any fighter? That’S ever competed in the ufc that you wish you’d have a chance to fight yeah. I always talked about this man. I just want to know. What’S uh, what’s going on with everybody that can’t be khabib, you know what i mean and even though it’s not my weight class, you know it’s a one-way cause above mine, but i’ll still do it. You know i mean um. I just think like uh, i have a very good wrestling defense. You know i mean and and if you take me to grandma, i’m like jiu jitsu, you know what i mean. I feel like some people don’t use the jiu jitsu against them. They just either trying to just stop the takedowns or they just kind of like kind of like just stop his ground and pound, but i feel like i could i i really believe i could like um. I just like. I said i work on takedown defense and especially against the wall, because i i used to lose like that. My losses has been because people took me down. My losses were because of that, and i worked my ass off on trying to get uh trying to stop that style so and, like i said, like he’s undefeated, nobody has figured him out in that sense yet and uh. I think i think i could do it. So it’ll be great, you know, and you know, he’ll be elsa. You know he’s a he’s from russia, i’m from colombia to different countries. You know it’s not like you know you get two big countries all behind each one of you yeah. I think that’s yeah. I like that, so here we are two weeks out uh you are in florida, which is one right now like the epicenter of covid. So what are you doing to make sure you do not get coveted before this fight? What sorts of things are you doing? How are you staying safe? Oh man, i just uh to be honest, like um, my students are they they keep getting on my case because uh, so i have to go to the supermarket and be like no send somebody uh. I got ta i like today. I got ta go to walmart by buying an incredible pool, because i want to do an ice bath uh because we don’t have the the the tub. So i’m gon na just get inflatable food just throw ice in there, water and just get in an ice bath and they’d. Be telling me send your brother, you know so. I’Ve been just really trying to stay away from people. What i’ve been doing is just like. I said: take my vitamins or stay hydrated or exercise. Of course i got ta train um. I i i’m doing what as best as i can with the things i could control yeah. You know what i mean, but uh like outside of that there’s nothing else. I could do about it like you know, hope it doesn’t happen to me. You know i mean, but that’s all i could do and yeah miami’s it’s low, it’s loaded with corona right now. You know it’s, it’s crazy. The cases are high, but that’s what i could do you know i mean like um like tomorrow, is actually uh one of my best friends uh passed away. Like the same day, i fought for the global legion title and tomorrow is his funeral, and i can’t go because i cannot take a chance of you know. People are showing up, even though we’re wearing the mask, even though we’re gon na be distant. I can’t go. I will have to visit him after the fight is over, but i can’t go because i cannot take a chance right now and i wanted to go, but my students stopped me from doing that. They were like, don’t go, don’t go and i was like well. I want to go because it’s tomorrow and my man i want to see him for the last time, like no don’t do that. You know like he. He won’t. He won’t want you to go and it’s true. That’S right! I’Ll! Ask you uh one last question and then i’ll, let you go, are you looking for which test? Would you rather do the nose test or the throat test? Oh there’s a throat test. I didn’t even know about that yeah. They either put it up your nose or they put it in the back of your throat. I would do the nose and i would experience thing. I think i just keep the the same nose one. I don’t know about the throat i don’t haven’t experienced that and what, if i don’t like it, you know what i mean. So i think i just keep the nose one uh. It’S only one. It’S only one nostril they get in there. They move it around. It bothers, it hurts a little painful. I think i’ll just keep that one. I don’t know. I don’t like that. One yeah, i i only i did this one. I i probably will never do that. One all right! Thank you, uh! Thank you for taking the time and and best of luck, man, i’m looking forward to your fight. Thank you very much. Sorry. Thank you very much. I appreciate the love man. Thank you. All right, man, stay safe, keep washing your hands and send people to the supermarket. Yes, sir, 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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