Chris “Taco” Padilla first made his pro debut in March of 2014, in a short year he has quickly risen to the top Lightweight division under the Xplode Fight Series banner. He is now undefeated with 5 straight wins in the cage, finishing 4 out of 5 of his fights. The 19 year old Padilla is fighting out of Gardena, California and is now arguably one of Southern California’s top rising stars in MMA. We last saw Chris back in January in an exciting fight, where he took on Kris Armbrister at Xplode fight Series (Hurricane). Chris didn’t waste any time getting to business. He was quickly able to successfully defend his belt for the second time in an astonishing 39 seconds in first round, submitting Armbrister with a guillotine choke. Now just three short months later, he is set to defend his belt for the second time against George Hernandez at Xpolde Fight Series “Taco “on March 21st in Valley Center California.
Why don’t we start off by you telling us what first led you into MMA?
The UFC when I was in the 8th grade I started watching the events, the first fight was probably Chris Leben I believe it was against Terry Martin. He was getting beat down at the time and then he came back and knocked him out. Every since I saw that fight I instantly knew that was this is what I wanted to do. I would always watch the fights on TV with my cousin and I always liked to see the submissions, I just knew this what I wanted to do.
My opponent is a south paw but there’s nothing big I just train for a fight. He might come in and try to wrestle me or he might come in to strike me, he is coming in trying to hurt me so I will be ready to hurt him. Nothing special really, I just want to get in there and beat him at everything and be better period.
You had your first fight pro fight almost a year to the date of your second title defense; how have you grown as a fighter in this past year?
As a fighter I always watch and I am always paying attention to a lot more styles, when I had my first pro fight I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my striking as much as I do now. In my first fight I just started striking my opponent fast and then later I found out later that he was a kick boxing champion. It was a mad dog kind of thing, I knew I wasn’t going to run so I just threw punches, but now with my striking I am more confident and I am working a lot harder on it and I am really coming into my own as a fighter. So, now when I step into cage it’s not just a fast it also going to be devastating.
XFS has decided to name their whole event after your nickname “Taco” how did you react when you found that out?
Funny thing about that I told Gregg Sharp after my second pro fight I said Gregg you’re going to name a show after me! He just laughed and he said we will see and he just went okay Chris and brushed me off like he thought this kid is just playing around. I told him again, you are going to name it after me you’ll see. Then he said you are going to have to win the belt before I can name a show after you, so I told him you just watch Gregg I am going to do it. I am the type if I say I going to do something I do it, if I say I am going to win the belt that’s exactly what I will did I won the belt. When he actually named the show after me, it was just more of I told you so type of moment and I was less surprised it was just I told you so.
What advantages do you think that you have over George Hernandez?
I think I am a more versatile fight he hasn’t fought someone at my speed, a lot of people tell me that I am a small 155, but I am never dominated by anyone and I have never been tossed me around like I am a lighter fighter. When I step into the cage I have the speed and a lot of power he isn’t going to be able to keep up with me and my pace and it’s not only that I am young and I am very fast.
What threats do you think George Hernandez opposes to you?
To read the rest of this interview click here