Dan “Prodigy” Gonzalez Looks to Dominate at Dragon House 29
Daniel “Prodigy” Gonzalez, a professional fighter out of San Jose, California, looks to add to what has been a big couple weeks for the family over at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA). When asked about his upcoming fight at Dragon House 29, Gonzalez had a simple response “Pure Dominance.”
” I see a KO, I see a submission, I see pure dominance every second of the fight” is the exact words used to describe his upcoming bout on July 21. The 23 year old California-native has set himself up for success, and a path to a third professional win in his young MMA career.
“If I don’t finish this guy, I will dominate him for 15 minutes.”
When asked how he chose this path, he looked back upon one of his first ever MMA performances. Competing in his first ever Kickboxing tournament, Gonzalez knew this was the sport for him. ” I fought three guys in the same day, and I thought man, I really don’t wanna do anything else, the thrill, the feeling, the atmosphere, this is the real stuff right here, It comes down to who is the better man.” Gonzalez said his family was not always willing to see him join the MMA scene, but described himself as an athlete growing up, and once he tried MMA he fell in love. As for his journey to becoming a professional, he describes it as “the right way.”
It was never an easy process, He started as any young aspiring athlete would, classes, local tournaments, amateur experience, even winning a title as an amateur. “I just feel like this is meant to be, This is what is supposed to happen, I am supposed to be in this position.”
The 23-year-old San Jose-native has one of the best attitudes towards the fight game that I have ever seen. “It is so funny how fighters sit in the locker room, I am actually outside with the crowd, I’m taking all this in man” A fan up until his time for fighting comes. When describing his opponent, “Prodigy” says “I can’t wait to look him dead in the eyes.” Gonzalez states that none of his fights are easy, and that he never wants to go up against ‘an easy opponent’ and describes his opponent for July 21 (Federico Vento) as a very well-rounded fighter. When asked about Vento’s style, and many submission wins, he plainly stated “if he wants to wrestle we can wrestle, if he wants to grapple, we can grapple, I am comfortable everywhere man.”
Gonzalez although hyped for his 4th professional bout, is coming off a split-decision loss to Jesus Santos Aguilar, which Gonzalez said could be run back hopefully this year. We discussed the adversity faced and how things will be different this time around. ” I fought to his game-plan, I was doing exactly what he wanted, I really rely on my fight IQ, I didn’t show it that night.” “After the fight I told [my opponent] ‘Thank you, you are going to make me a better fighter from this.” The American Kickboxing Academy prospect trains at a gym known for its fight IQ, including one of the smartest fighters on the planet in Daniel Cormier. “It’s crazy, you hear other fighters saying how inspiring [Cormier] was, but we are in the gym with him on a daily basis, that uplifted all of us.” When describing Cormier’s recent Heavyweight Championship victory over Stipe Miocic, He continued, “After that fight was my last week of training camp, it was so motivating, I just went off man.”
“To be with these high level athletes on a daily basis, to see what it takes, and the mindset, the work ethic, I just know I can do this, I’m only 23 years of age.”
Not only does he know he can do this but he also has the ears of some of the best fighters the UFC has ever seen as ears of advice on a daily basis. Daniel Gonzalez has already appeared on a Bellator card (Bellator 183), to which he did not disappoint, ending the night early with a first-round KO of Anthony Castrejon. Leading up to that fight, “There is video of me dancing to my song, dancing while getting checked out by the doctors, fighters get so much anxiety, they need to just embrace it.” When asked how that finish felt, “I was being written off by everyone, they kept saying this guy had so much experience over me, It’s different when you have to go in there against me and do it though.”
At only 23, already being noticed by big promotions, many wondered if the UFC is the end goal. His response put short “exactly.” His answer though continued with his humble yet excited attitude, “I wanna do everything the right way, I really wanna work on myself, get my name out there, It is the goal and I know it can be done. I have a great team behind me, It will happen in due time, I’m patient, I’m young, I’m healthy, I’m active and when it happens it’ll happen.” In a way this response sounded very Max Holloway-esque, “It is what it is.”
Gonzalez is not only training full time but also works a full 40 hour week as well. This kid is glowing with work-ethic, and is very family oriented. “I don’t sleep much, I like to stay busy. When I’m not training or working, I’m always with my family.” While speaking with Gonzalez, he spoke about how his family was returning from a trip that night, and that he couldn’t wait for them to be home. “I’m always with my family, I don’t drink, I don’t party, don’t do any of that stuff.” It is clear that Gonzalez sacrifices so much that a usual 23 year old may do, but in the end he believes it will be worth it.
Gonzalez is ready for fight week, he is ready and thrilled to be entering that octagon on July 21st, only a few short days away. “It is all about your team, all this and that, but when there is two guys entering that cage, that’s the real stuff.” One quote that stuck with me after our talk had ended was “When you can dominate a man for 15 minutes, 25 minutes, that feeling is no joke, beautiful feeling, and I never want that to end.” This Flywieghts attitude towards his life, his goals and his upcoming bout tell me he is a name to be remembered for any UFC fans. I would also absolutely encourage you all to tune into Dragon House 29 as he faces Federico Vento this Saturday. With some of the best coaches and training partners on the planet by his side, and an attitude in which had me impressed from the beginning, this 23 year old is looking at a big future, but intends to take it all in on the way there. Best of luck to him on Saturday, he is looking to prove a point, and do nothing short of dominate his opponent.
Author: Joe McDonagh (joe_mcdonagh6)