Cholish has stopped seven consecutive opponents.
Editorial by John Archibald, Resolution Sports
Lightweight Set for Scrap with WEC/UFC Veteran Castillo
Lightweight John Cholish (8-1) will get back to action this Saturday for his second appearance in the UFC as part of the UFC on FOX 3: Diaz vs. Miller show that will occur at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Standing opposite him and in the way of a ninth consecutive victory will be WEC/UFC veteran Juan Castillo (13-4), a gritty California native seeking his fourth win in five outings under the UFC banner.
“Training has been going great,” Cholish told me about preparation for this encounter. “It has been coming together, and I really could not have had a better training camp. Everything felt good, and I’m really looking forward to Saturday.”
In terms of his opponent this weekend, Cholish says that he is prepared for hard-nosed opposition and expects to have a very tough fight ahead of him.
“I didn’t know much about Castillo, but I knew his reputation, and his record kind of spoke for itself,” he remarked. “He’s done a very good job in both the WEC and UFC. Especially at this level, every opponent is a tough guy. There’s no such thing as an easy fight.”
In approaching each of his MMA outings, Cholish tends to focus more on his own training than becoming overly concerned about what his opponent will do once they enter the cage. More than anything, he confirmed that it is a love for the game that keeps him going back to the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York City every day.
“Believe it or not, I just have fun training and fighting. That’s why I do it,” he stated. “I don’t do it for the money or any other reason. I seem to make the best improvements when I’m just there training for fun and the love of the sport. Obviously, fighting is a tough sport and tough competition. If you start watching someone’s film (when preparing for a fight), it’s too hard to get it out of your head. You start thinking ‘what would you do in this situation, or what would you do there?’ I just try to go in there and have fun training and improving all of my skills. This is something that seems to work for me, so I think I’m going to stick with it.”
A full-time commodities broker on Wall Street by day, Cholish is often asked if he would ever leave his current job to focus entirely on fighting. However, the Cornell University graduate insists that he has no plans on altering his current daily regimen, even if a title fight could become something that comes down the road.
“No, this is only my second fight in the UFC,” he responded when I asked him if he thought about the prospect of taking a significant jump in the division rankings. “All of the weight classes are so tough, but, obviously, I’m a little biased. I think the lightweight division is just full of so many talented and different guys. One thing that is neat about our sport and kind of differentiates it – in the NFL, NBA or NHL, you have your teams that are favorites the whole season, and then a team will come from out of nowhere and win the title. The UFC is full of talented guys at 155, who on any given day could be the lightweight champ. That’s the kind of talent you have in the division.
“I just take it one fight at a time. Fighting for the UFC is a dream come true. I try not to look ahead. Things are going so great, and I’m having such a great ride. I’m having such a great time enjoying the ride that I just want to enjoy the moment I’m in.”
Not only does this fight mark his second appearance in the UFC, it is also the second time that Cholish has fought at the IZOD Center. Prior to stopping Mitch Clarke by strikes at UFC 140 in Canada, he previously submitted Marc Stevens at the IZOD Center under the Strikeforce banner. Currently fighting out of New York City, the New Jersey native said while he enjoys being able to scrap in front of friends and family, he has not switched up the way he prepared for Castillo because of that fact.
“I’ve really tried to approach everything the same way,” he commented. “My training has gone really well. It’s obviously nice to be close to home and not have to travel, especially with work. That’s a great plus and benefit. But in the end, it’s the same cage, same Octagon, just a different opponent. I’m just looking to go in there and hopefully put on a good show for everyone who bought tickets.”
The preliminary bouts will get underway at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, with Cholish meeting Castillo in the fourth contest of the evening. His fight will also air live on FUEL TV after a featherweight confrontation between Dennis Bermudez and Pablo Garza gets the TV action started. The card will switch to FOX at 8:00 p.m. EST, with four matches on tap for a main card that is capped off with a lightweight showdown between Nate Diaz and Jim Miller.