Before Richie Santiago tries to bounce back from his first career loss at CES 53 on Nov. 2 in Lincoln, R.I., the dynamic up-and-comer from Massachusetts caught up with FightBookMMA.
How’s training camp going for this fight?
It’s being going really well. It’s kicked off. I was matched up pretty early for this card, which is great because I was able to plan and get going early from ten weeks out. We’re less than eight weeks out and I’m full-force. I’m ready to go.
What did you take away from your most recent fight?
My last fight in April was my first professional loss. I had to re-evaluate how I felt about it mentally. I felt great, physically, going into that fight. I think I could have beat him 9/10 times, but there’s always that one time. He got me on that night and I truly believe it won’t happen again. Just getting that loss out of the way, right now it sucks, but it may be a blessing in the future.
Has anything changed with how you’re approaching this fight?
Not really. I’m still with the same camp. The same people. I’m sparring with the same guys. I’m not doing anything drastically different. I went into that fight feeling great, I was in tremendous shape, and I made weight easily. It was just that split-second that lost me the fight. Nothing too crazy. The biggest thing is just to mentally prepare – don’t buy into my own hype and be humble. I was the undefeated top dog for a while, but anybody can lose on any given day. You’ve just got to accept it and move forward.
How important is it to make a statement with this upcoming fight?
It’s important to me. I lost back in April and I wanted to fight this summer, but the stars didn’t align and it didn’t happen. Now, coming back, it’s been a few months. I want to show that even though I had that one loss, I’m still the top guy in this division. I’m not fallen off. I’m not going to fold over for anybody. I’m going to come in and make a statement and remind these people that I’m still the best guy in this division.
How do you see this next one playing out?
I see a finish. Like I said, I’m coming to make a statement. I’m not here to mess around. I don’t get paid by the hour. I’m going to go in and try to finish it as quick as I can. Whatever happens, happens, though. I’m prepared for anything. If he wants to stand with me, that’s fine. If he wants to grapple with me, that’s fine. He’s considered more of a grappler, but so am I. I love to stand, too. So, we’ll see what happens.