Nick Gonzalez from Austin, Texas will be facing Rocky Long for the FFC Featherweight Title on December 10th in Biloxi, MS. Gonzalez earned the right to face Long after a "tour de force" win agaist Josh Sauder, of the Gurgel Academy, last September. Below is an interview with Nick conducted earlier today.
FFC: When did you start training?
NG: May 2001, after I saw the early UFC’s. I was completely taken by the sport. I wrestled in High School so I already liked grappling and I had a love of boxing, from growing up watching fights with my Father and Grandfather. I am just glad that now I have a chance to make a living doing what I love.
FFC: Who were the early influences on you as a fighter?
NG: Julio Caesar Chavez, Pedro Rizzo, Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz, and Ernesto Hoost.
FFC: That’s quite a diverse array of favorites. Does that have anything to do with your approach to training and your goals as a fighter?
NG: Absolutely, I have tried to take something from each one of them and make it mine. I want to be a complete fighter.
FFC: Who do you train with?
NG: Rudy Vasquez at the Vasquez academy in Austin. He has had a long career in a variety of arts and has a complete philosophy. I think that is why we get along so well, he wants me to excel at each of the disciplines as much as I do.
FFC: What did you learn in your fight against Josh Sauder at your FFC debut last September?
NG: Well, it was my first fight with closed fist rules. In Texas you can only use open hand techniques it like Pancrase®. People always told me that I could really hurt people with MMA gloves, now I know I can.
FFC: Did you have any nervous moments in that fight?
NG: Briefly, he took my back off of a transition, and was I was like “Hey this is not the position I want to be in”. Other that moment I felt like I was pretty much in control. I really didn’t plan to grapple as much as I did, but I was able to grab a kick and ended up getting a take down into an advantaged position. I prefer to trade, but I’ll take whatever you give me.
FFC: You have faced Rocky Long twice before. What do you think of him?
NG: He is really tough,. He trains with a great team, is a great all around fighter, and was glad to see him win the Title Belt. I respect him a lot.
FFC: Do the rules make this a whole new fight or is it just act three of a play you have both been a part of before?
NG: It is a different fight. Firstly, we have both improved a lot since our last fight. Secondly, we will both be throwing closed fists this time. We both have power and the potential for a KO is there at any moment. It’s not like a grudge match for me, its just another fight and Im and me grateful for the opportunity. Rocky and I always entertain the crowd.
FFC: How is your preparation going?
NG: I have had some personal drama to deal with, but other than that I am in real good shape and all my skills are sharp. I have a good team of guys who have worked hard to get me ready. I’m such a perfectionist when it comes to training and I always try to do more each time I’m in the gym.
FFC: What do you think Rocky is going to try when the bell rings?
NG: You never know. I could envision him trying to take my head off, or just as easily see him trying to get me on the ground. Because I know him so well I will be very alert to his intentions.
FFC: Have you adjusted your training regimen for the fight?
NG: I kept same routine. I train hard for everyone, and since Rocky is so well rounded I have done a lot of everything.
FFC: Are you coming into this fight healthy?
NG: I feel really good and am 100% healthy. Cutting weight has caused me to neglect a lot of tortilla’s