Author’s Note – I hope you’re enjoying the Legacy Fights Interview Series featuring competitors of the upcoming January 29th Legacy show in Houston. Over the past year or so, I’ve worked tirelessly to bring the (Houston & Texas) MMA Community and its fighters the in-depth exposure they deserve via my contributions here at TXMMA and other places. From setting up community spaces to coordinating charity events and sponsorship opportunities for fighters / grapplers, it’s been a passion of mine to help grow combat sports in Texas. If you’d like to be a part of that in any way – whether by assisting with writing /coverage, sponsoring my articles (and growing your own brand), providing criticism / feedback, or by letting me know of other ways we can work together, please, don’t hesitate to contact me. I can be reached via email, on Facebook, or via Twitter.
Thanks for reading and supporting Texas Mixed Martial Arts! Mike Calimbas
Making good on his moniker “The Pit,” Daniel Pineda never fails to bring a ferocious and relentless fighting style when he steps into the cage. Coming off a spectacular first-round submission victory over Houston community accredited Fighter of the Year Rey Trujillo, Pineda now seeks to make Legacy fighting history by being the first fighter to win a title in two weight divisions. In order to have a crack at that goal (and lightweight champion Ray Blodget), Pineda first has to get by the Alaskan “Barbarian,” Levi Forrest at Legacy on January 29th.
With much on the line, the Daniel Pineda versus Levi Forrest fight is interesting for numerous reasons. The most significant among them being that this bout will be contested as a battle of champion versus champion, with the added wrinkle of this bout taking place in a neutral weight class (155). Daniel Pineda is coming up to 155 as the Legacy Featherweight Champion, having beaten the aforementioned Trujillo to win that title. His opponent, Levi Forrest, is going the other way dropping down to the lightweight class as a former welterweight champion, having never lost since he beat Mike Bronzoulis for that Legacy title back in March of last year. Stylistically, both fighters are strong wrestlers that love to control the pace in the cage. And both are looking to do big things in 2011 after a successful run in the last year.
How will this fight turn out? What will Pineda do about the size difference between him and his opponent? And what tattoo did he just get on his arm?!
Find out below in my conversation with Daniel “The Pit” Pineda.
Good afternoon Daniel. Before we get to the fight questions, I think fans would appreciate getting to know a little more about Daniel Pineda outside the cage. What’s life like for you outside of training?
My life outside the cage is pretty normal. I am a full-time construction worker, and generally work six days a week. When I am not at the gym or at work, I like to hang out with my wife Karla. We just like to chill… go to the movies, grab some dinner. You know, the usual stuff. I also like to visit with my family. I am very close to the guys at the gym so I hang out with them, as well. People may be surprised to find out that I am a gamer. I will play Call of Duty until Karla threatens me!
You’re the second fighter that’s mentioned that. It seems COD: Black Ops is a favorite in our community! If we asked those closest to you what you were like, how would they describe you?
In the cage you’re known as an incredible wrestler. I’ve heard from a few people that you might have one of the fastest shots in Houston. Is that what you will always consider your primary weapon in the cage?
I use to, for my first couple of fights. I would throw an overhand right, shoot, and do my thing. That was a long time ago. My game has really developed since then, and I feel I am dangerous in all areas now.
Who do you credit for helping you develop that overall MMA game aside from just using your wrestling skills?
I would have to say Robert “Bob” Perez. He has helped make me a complete fighter. He knows how to use my strengths in the most productive ways. He motivates and pushes me. He has also really helped me to understand fighting.
What’s it like training at IV Oz Fight Club with Steve Garcia and those guys? How would you describe the typical training environment at your gym?
Man, it’s intense. With Bob pushing us, and guys with such high level skills, it’s always crazy. We’ve got Steve Garcia, Jesus Rivera, Jeremy Mahon, Dominic Rodriguez, and about twenty-five other active fighters, too many to name. Man, we also have guys that come from Houston and all over Texas to train with Bob and spar with the team. I love this place. I just had 4oz. tattooed on my arm!
You’ve fought all over the place, especially around Texas. How do compare fighting in Houston to all the other cities you’ve fought in?
Fighting in Houston is the best. I’ve never lost here and don’t plan to. I always have lots of support from my fans and that always motivates me to win. MMA is blowing up in Houston but I am signed with Legacy because I feel Mick is on to something big. I think the best fighters fight for Legacy and I am proud to be one.
Your next fight with Levi Forrest – both of you guys are champion fighters looking to make your mark in multiple weight classes. Why move up to 155 when you’ve already got the 145 title?
I want the 155 title. I win this fight, then I am in contention.
Your opponent is moving down from 170. Do you expect him to be a lot larger than you? What impact do you think strength will play into the fight?
Most guys I fight are bigger than me and I am never worried about their strength. Just like the old saying goes, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight. It’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
I’ve heard Levi has wrestled for going on 13 years. He’s also known for his striking. Without giving away any of your game plan, how do you plan on beating him?
I am just going to listen to my coaches, and do my thing. I’m winning. Levi will have to kill me to beat me in my hometown.
What’s next for you after this bout?
I will have two fights left on my contract with Legacy after this fight. Next, I want a crack at Ray Bloget for the lightweight title. Then I will defend my 145 title. Then I hope to move to the big show.
You’ve got a lot fans out there. Any last words before we go?
I would like to thank my wife Karla for supporting me. My brother, Jose, for always helping me and giving me great fight advice. My mother for giving me strength. My team at 4oz. for always pushing me. And to all the fans that get me pumped. I promise to fight my hardest come January 29th, and I guarantee I will put on a show.
Legacy Fights Interview Series
Authored by: Mike Calimbas
- Jeff Rexroad, Paradigm – here
- Joe Christopher, Joe-Jujitsu – here
- Ricardo Talavera, Elite MMA – here
- Justin Murray, Bushi Ban – here
- Mike Bronzoulis, Paradigm – here
- Jennifer Scott, IV oz. – here
- Jordan Rivas, Elite MMA – here
- Brian Melancon, Paradigm – here
- Derrick Krantz, Team 515 – here
- Daniel Pineda, IV oz. – here