Paul Elizondo is undefeated in his first two professional bouts and has gone into each fight with the same mentality.
No matter who the opponent is, show up and fight the same — never take it easy.
Elizondo, 27, learned that the hard way early on during his high school years.
“I remember in high school I was on the wrestling team and I had a big meet coming up at home. I invited my friends and my family and my girlfriend,” Elizondo said. “I mean, this was my first girlfriend, I wanted to show her how good I was. The thing is, I lost the wrestling match in front of her and all my friends. I came in and thought I was going to win and took it easy.”
Now, Elizondo faces each opponent with the same focus and intensity. It doesn’t matter where they are from or what their background is, they will get the same Elizondo.
Elizondo, who trains out of the Halo Jiu Jitsu in Clovis, will put his 2-0 professional record on the line Friday, August 2 at the Savemart Center in the Combate Americas fighting tournament and he feels he has an edge being from the area. He was previously unbeaten as an amateur champion and was a champion wrestler before turning to MMA.
He goes for his third straight win as a professional on Aug. 2 in Fresno for Combate Americas, one of the largest MMA promotions in the area. Elizondo previously featured in the 559 Fights, based in the Central Valley.
“I think I have a big advantage that I am from this area. It’s more than just winning in this sport, it’s also about entertainment and so I want to put on a good show for the fans in the area that have supported me and just have a good fight.”
The local spotlight will also give Elizondo a chance to show the area how hard he works for the community and just to showcase the sport of MMA and how it is growing not only here in the Central Valley, but also in the country in general.
“Football and basketball are cool, but MMA is just more than the sport that you see. It’s a sport that you can learn so much from, aside from the physical abilities,” Elizondo said. “It teaches you hard work, commitment and just many things that can help you in all areas of your life.”
Growing up in the Fresno/Clovis area, Elizondo has always had his community in mind. He works at Level Up Fitness in Clovis and he trains at a local Jiu Jitsu facility as well.
This area he calls home and fighting for his home in a week’s time is something that Elizondo wants.
As a fighter, Elizondo considers his strengths to be on the ground as a wrestler. Since he was six, Elizondo has been wrestling.
After 21 years, Elizondo finds his skills in the cage as second nature. He can feel when he’s too relaxed in the cage, whether he’s fighting or sparring and he has to keep his levels high in order to fight at the level he wants.
“When everything is on the line, I would say I go to my strongest point which is my wrestling,” Elizondo said. “Grappling yes, I do come from wrestling, but I feel like there is a big difference between Jiu Jitsu and wrestling and in MMA, my wrestling is more violent than somebody’s Jiu Jitsu. I’m ok with taking a few hits, but I’m not going for the submission.”
In order to get to that level where Elizondo finds his success, he trains with UFC’s Daniel Cormier’s trainer four days out of the week. His guidance and tutelage has helped Elizondo in many ways and has been key in his 2-0 professional start.
But, Elizondo is ready for fight week and his opponent (making his professional debut) is in for a rude awakening.