Born To Do It December 5, 2017 – Posted in: Uncategorized
A few weeks ago we got the opportunity to see our first CXRRECT sponsored Muay Thai/MMA fighter, Diego Paez, make his professional debut in Burbank, CA. A mutual friend connected us with Diego a few months before and we were big supporters of his talent and his determination. We knew that he was the type of person we wanted to build with. Going into his professional debut, Diego Paez was a 4x amateur champion and had a record of 10-0. All eyes were upon him.
The time was about 12:15am at the convention hall of the Burbank Marriot. Fans were anxiously awaiting the last fight of the night, Diego Paez vs Brandol Mendoza. The fight was actually scheduled for 5 hours prior at 7:00pm, but was postponed till the last fight of the night. After much confusion, we later learned that because the fights were being aired in Russia, if they wanted to fight at that time they would have to agree to to fight with Kickboxing rules as opposed to Muay Thai rules. Paez was for it, but Mendoza was not. This meant they had to wait until after the last kick boxing fight. They had even stated that the Paez vs Mendoza fight would not happen if the preceding fights go past midnight.
After a long wait, and the clock ticking past midnight, the fight had finally come. Mendoza seemed to have a strong local LA support, but Team Paez was definitely making their presence known. Both fighters made their way to the stage as crowds cheered. Mendoza, having trained in Thailand, performed his traditional Muay Thai customs inside the ring. We later asked Paez why he didn’t do the same, and he gave us a pretty straight forward answer; “Everybody wants to make it a big deal that they’ve trained in Thailand, it’s really not. I’ve never been to Thailand, I’ve never trained there. No reason to do that. I’m from Orange County.”
After the rituals and a few words from the ref, the bell rang and fight had officially started. Both fighters came out energetically throwing countless punches and kicks. It was pretty even throughout the 4 rounds, and thats exactly how it was scored. After 4 rounds, the judges scored the fight a majority draw, with the 3rd judge favoring Paez. It was not the outcome that we were hoping for, especially because we felt Paez had won the fight, but it is better than a loss. The fight did however earn the “Fight of the Night.”
We caught up with Diego Paez at his local gym, Classic Fight Team in costa mesa to talk about the fight and also his background in how he got into fighting. Diego told us that what really messed with his focus that night was the changing of the time. “I was mentally drained after the reschedule, and they told me the fight would get cancelled if it went after midnight.” I can remember hearing Diego say, “put me in the ring again with that kid and I’ll kill him.”
Diego said that one thing that got him through the fight was his fans and his family cheering. “When I’m fighting and it’s a tough fight, I think about everything; My son, my family in the crowd, my mom. If I’m winning, I’m enjoying the fight and not thinking about any of that.”
“I fight because that’s all I got going for me.”
Diego has been training for about 7 years now and fighting for 4. We talked to Diego about how he got into fighting. “My dad boxed in the army,” he said. “He took my brothers and I to a boxing gym when we were younger, but never really signed up for anything because we didn’t have the money. A few years later my brothers and I all went and signed up at a gym at the same time.” Diego has two brothers, Chris and Mario, that also train. Diego noticed he was good at fighting when he was in about 4th/5th grade. “I was always trying to prove something, I was a bit of a bully,” he said.
Diego recollected back to his first fight. “It was a very tough fight, and the guy definitely had more experience than I was told. It was somewhere in San Diego, and I’m pretty sure it was unsanctioned,” said Diego. Luckily, Diego won that fight, as well as his next 9 fights.
When asked if there are any fighters that he looked up to, he named Jose Aldo, a UFC fighter from Brazil. But, he said that was when he first started, and now he just focuses more on himself and his training. Diego gives it up for his team Classic Fight Team, “having a strong team is important, my backbone to my fighting is my team.” Classic Fight Team has trained some of the best fighters currently on the rise.
Diego will be fighting again within the next 4 months, stay tuned with us here at Cxrrect for more info!