Interview: Nick “The Ghost” Gonzalez

Coming out of the Guy Mezger’s Combat Sports Club & Vasquez Academy training camp, Nick Gonzalez specializes in kickboxing, boxing, and jiu-jitsu. Gonzalez has fought in K-1 World Max, Elite XC, WCL and many others. Nick is currently signed with NCFC fight management and will be part of a new fight series airing in early 2009 on ESPN. He holds a professional record of 14 – 6 – 0 as of December 2008 and is ranked in the top 100 fighters of the world in his weight class.

If you would tell our readers and those who may not be familiar with you yet, what your connection is exactly to Austin.

Nick: Well man, I am Austin,Texas! Born and raised here…deep in the heart of South Austin no less. I went to grade school, middle school and high school in Austin. No matter where I go and fight, Austin goes with me. A lot of people lately have come here and started fighting or were already competitive say they “are from Austin”. Don’t be fooled. This is my city! Born at St. Davids Hospital in 1981.

What current titles do you hold, just so everyone reading can be up to speed ?

Nick: I am the current King of Kombat lightweight champion. I hold the XFC (Xtreme Fight Championship) lightweight championship as well as the  FFC (Freestyle Fighting champ) title. In 2003, I was the Renegades lightweight tournament champ.

It looks like your hard work has paid off. So what is it that got you into Mixed Martial Arts?

Nick:To be honest man, fate led me to get into MMA.I was a high school wrestler when I saw my very first MMA/UFC fight. From then on I was hooked. One thing I noticed at that time was there weren’t really weight classes and it was NOT what it is now.

Did you always like to fight? I mean, where does this toughness and tenacity come from?

Nick:Fighting was always a normal thing for me. I grew up a little rough and ran with a bad crowd, so that part wasn’t a big deal to me… the fighting that is. Long story short, I did a little bit of time but was able to go to school, got a trade certification as an electrician and immediately started working. I had to because I had a kid on the way.

Did this hunger to be a great fighter stem from the whole electrician thing not working out?

Nick: Well going from being high school wrestler to pudgy electrician wasn’t the route in life I wanted to take. I wanted to do something, anything active. MMA had caught my eye a long time ago but I wasn’t looking to train as an MMA fighter at that time. I just wanted to get back in shape. Low and behold I flipped through The Yellow Pages and The Vasquez Academy is where I ended up.

What did you start learning then at Vazquez?

Nick: I started in a Ju-Jitsu class because it is related to wrestling. I also started kickboxing and boxing. Six months later had my first professional fight. Now my heart, body and mind have been entirely committed to be the best MMA fighter I can be.

And now I hear that you are taking it to the next level with a network fight? And I hear “ESPN” being tossed around? Speak on that for my Austin Vida readers.

Nick: Yes sir! It was only a matter of time before ESPN broke into the MMA world with their new baby, BFC (Bellator Fighting Championship). It kicks off in April of 2009 and is being aired on ESPN Deportes and ESPN360.com. I signed a 30 month deal with them and that was also part of me signing to NCFC Fight Management. They manage a list of big MMA stars, now they just came upon a very hungry,talented,driven and good looking Mexican American.

You forgot humble there Nick…

Nick: Hey I’m just saying! BFC though has created something new and is really gonna show case the lower weight classes by running a series of tournament fights. The weight classes range from featherweight to middleweight.

Which weight class will you be fighting in?

I’m making the move to featherweight, which is where I actually won my first title at. I fought in the lightweight division because it kept me busier. With that being said, the new part of MMA series is them putting the fighters and their stories out there first before you see the fight, like a reality show.

Are you going to live in a house with other fighters to see what happens when people stop being polite and that whole thing? With alcohol and drama?

Nick: No way, none of that bullshit. They really wanna showcase talent and give you these rich stories that each person brings to the table, as well as showcasing the world class ability of each fighter. It won’t be a cast of 13 assholes with 2 or 3 legitimate fighters living in a house…pissing on each others bed or whatever. Fighters fight period. Anyone who really knows me they knows that for a while now. I’ve been scratching and clawing my way to gt the opportunities I’ve had.

Have you ever auditioned or tired out for some of the other network reality fight shows or is this your first venture into reality television?

Nick: I tried out three times for a reality fight show. I actually got picked out of a try out for the K1 World Max, but MMA is where my heart is. ESPN and Bellator have a set opportunity for me. I mean its ESPN! I’m going with all the goods I have that have gotten me this far. Except now, everyone is gonna know me.

So being that this is the “next level” for you, are you the least bit concerned about the next level competition?

Nick: Not at all! I’ve been to the big show before and have been fighting for awhile, so there is not a lot that I haven’t seen, felt or been in front of. The few opportunities I’ve have had included two loses. The opponents I lost to were two top 10 ranked fighters in the lightweight division, where I had been competitive and winning. Now I’m making the move down to 145 where I feel I will have a lot working in my favor. Of course I’ll work hard to make the necessary adjustments to win at the class.

Do you know any of the other fighters on the show?

Nick: I’ve heard a few names being tossed around, but no one that has me really worried. Honestly man, everyone knows what my strength is and its no secret what I want to do in the fight and where I want to be. Of course with the two loses came a reality check and some adjustments I needed to make.

How did those losing fights for you end? Was it a judges decision, knock out, or submission?

Nick: I lost by submission.

What affect, if any, did those loses do to your confidence?

Losing by submission didn’t make me lose any confidence. It just showed me what I need to work if I want to be the best in the world. I ended up moving to Dallas live and train at Guy Mezger’s Combat Sports Club.

That’s your coach?

Nick: Yeah. He’s been a great coach and mentor. His gym houses some great fighters whom would be my worst case scenario opponent, like a wrestler or BJJ guy who wants to take me down. Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen and heard of my improvements. That was my goal when initially coming here. Honestly, I feel bad for my first opponent in BFC.

Oh yeah? Why’s that?

I’m pitted against the worst here already. Come fight time, I’m going to be the new and much improved Nick “The Ghost” Gonzalez…who is already a bad mofo.

For more on Nick”The Ghost” Gonzalez, visit him online at his official website:

www.nicktheghost.com

Nick “The Ghost” Gonzalez links:

Myspace

Facebook Fan Page

We’d like to give a special thanks to CTC for kindly letting us do Nick’s cover shoot in their gym. Be sure to check out CTC online and pay them a visit.

Ian Morales

Editor in Chief

Ian is a product of Round Rock High School and St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. He is an alumnus of the National Hispanic Institute and learned to dance at a young age with the Round Rock Ballet Folklórico. Ian also serves as the Editor-in-Chief for Austin Vida’s sister site, Red River Noise.

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