By TXMMA Staff // Photos: Fabian Saldivar
Cinco MMA Elite’s featherweight champ prepares for next defense against Josh Montalvo at STFC 36
HARLINGEN, TX – The STFC featherweight title is on the line this Saturday night as Harlingen native Fabian Saldivar headlines STFC 36 against Josh Montalvo. This will be the 3rd title fight and second defense for the champ out of Cinco MMA Elite. He beat Javier Obregon for the title last September and hasn’t looked back since, also beating Cinco MMA Elite by triangle choke to defend his belt at STFC 33.
Looking deeper in Fabian’s record and what you’ll find is one heck of an impressive fighter. He’s 6-1 and hasn’t lost since his debut fight, a narrow split decision loss to a BJJ black belt in Genesis BJJ’s Tony Tipton – and that was almost four years ago. Since then he’s not only beaten everyone they’ve put in front of him but he’s finished them – two by TKO and the last four by submission. Forgive a little hyperbole but the data shows he could be the next big prospect out of the RGV following in the footsteps of UFC fighters like Carlos Diego Ferreira, Frank Trevino, and Roger Narvaez.
TXMMA caught up to Fabian Saldivar en route to his title defense this Saturday. Read on to get some more background on him, what he plans to do in this fight, and what he’s got planned for his future.
STFC 36 Pre-Fight Interview – Fabian Saldivar (Cinco MMA Elite)
Fabian, tell us a little bit about your fighting background. How long have you been training, out of what camp, and what’s the story of your career up to this point?
Well I started out learning a bit about submissions when I was in the Marine Corps. The program was called MCMAP and specialized in close quarter combat. There was a few Marines that took it upon themselves to learn more about submissions. I attached myself to them and soon got a Gracie Submissions book and just started learning through that. After the Marines I came home to the RGV and started training MMA in Harlingen. After training for about a year I had my first professional fight. I ended up losing a split decision to Tony Tipton, a black belt in BJJ. After that loss I was determined never to have that feeling again and kept at it. After a few more fights, I switched camps to Cinco-Elite in Weslaco. It was there that my coaches Eli Rodriguez and Chris Cortes along with my new teammates help me capture the STFC Featherweight Title.
Pretty cool you found this part of your life in the Marine Corps. Was fighting in the cage something you always wanted to do?
Actually no. I never even thought about it. While in the Marine Corps I enjoyed watching MMA and learning Jiu Jitsu but it wasn’t until about 2011 that I decided to give it a try and train to compete. And because of the way I was brought up the goal was always to become the best at what I chose to do.
So you’re now 6-1 as a pro with 2 title wins under your belt. Where do you go from her?
I just want to keep pushing myself to win more. Get more notoriety. I want to compete against the best in the world and winning is the way I’ll be about to get that opportunity.
I want to continue competing in Jiu-Jitsu Tournaments too. I recently competed and won gold at the IBJJF Austin Open. I just received my Purple Belt and am looking forward to testing myself against everyone at that belt level.
What’s your proudest win so far in MMA?
All of them. I love winning. I’m obsessed with it. So every time I do, I just want to win again. I’m proud of all my victories but victory is a fleeting feeling that I constantly need to chase. I’m proud of all of them, but I’m far from satisfying that need.
And the biggest lesson you’ve learned up to this point?
That a fighter’s mindset is his strongest weapon.
You’ll be taking on Josh Montalvo in your next STFC title defense. What do you know about him? How do you expect this fight to go when you picture it in your head?
Not much, just his name, and his number. Which is 7. The seventh win for me.
I never visualize fights. Or have a plan. The only plan is to win. I go in ready for anything in order to achieve that. I believe that having expectations of your opponent can impede you from sharpening your skills for every possible situation. The only visual is getting the win at the end.
What’s next for you after this? Do you ever want to fight outside the valley?
Of course. I want to continue winning and continue my career on the highest possible platforms, so naturally the UFC is the objective. I’ve also become really fascinated with the BJJ portion of my martial arts training. So competing year-long in BJJ tournaments and to continue climbing up the ranks in BJJ is another objective.
Any last words for your fans before the fight this Saturday?
I can’t wait to put on a show for everybody, and show everyone why I am the STFC Featherweight Champ. See you out there.