LAS VEGAS – John Castaneda feels he’s started a new chapter in his fighting career.

Having made some big changes in his life, the UFC bantamweight is confident a new and improved version is here to stay in the promotion. Castaneda (20-6 MMA, 3-2 UFC) was training and managing his career as a fighter while he had a full-time, regular job – which wasn’t working out for him.

“Up and til the Daniel Santos fight, I was working full time, 40 to 45 hours a week, training 30-35 hours a week, getting very little sleep,” Castañeda said at the UFC on ESPN 45 post-fight press conference. “I was always sick, always getting injured and walking really, really chubby just because my metabolism was super slow from everything going on in my life.”

Castaneda lost by knockout to Daniel Santos to finish out his UFC contract. He knew he needed a chance to take his career to a new level, so he quit his job.

“After that Daniel Santos fight, which I found out I was fighting with an upper respiratory infection, I said, ‘What am I doing? There’s no need for me to work full-time. I’m good financially. I just need to go dive 100 percent,’” Castañeda said. “So I quit my job, and keep in mind it was my last fight on the contract, Daniel Santos. I didn’t know if I was going to get resigned. I took a leap of faith. I quit my job. I left to Thailand for three months and got some really good training at Bangtao Muay Thai and MMA. George, Frank Hickman, those guys are top-level trainers. The jiu-jitsu coach Alex Shields and the strength and conditioning coach Woody, those are super top guys. The biggest thing I took from Thailand was re-emerging myself into being a full-time athlete.”

Castañeda returned, re-signed to the UFC, and re-focused this past Saturday at UFC on ESPN 45 in Las Vegas. He defeated UFC newcomer Muin Gafurov (18-5 MMA, 0-1 UFC) by unanimous decision.

Castañeda feels this is a new chapter and warns fans to brace themselves for what’s to come.

“This is my first fight on my new contract,” Castañeda said. “I’m fully focused on this sport now, and I re-introduced myself to the UFC tonight. This is John 2.0.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 45.

Be sure to visit the MMA Junkie Instagram page and YouTube channel to discuss this and more content with fans of mixed martial arts.

Read More