TRAINING: My days are pretty hectic and very busy. I attend Zen Jiu-Jitsu in the mornings to practice Jiu-Jitsu, and in the evenings I go to Young Tigers to practice my stand-up and MMA. In between, I fit in physical training and I make sure I dedicate some time to my family as well. By the time the day ends I'm pretty exhausted.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I started training for fighting at the age of 12 in karate-do for health reasons. I was asthmatic, and thanks to the sport I was able to breathe better and eventually not experience any more symptoms. Throughout the years I mastered other martial arts such as San-Shou. After seeing my victories as an amateur fighter, I realized that I have a talent in martial arts and decided to train harder. Once I left Cuba I pursued my career as a professional fighter in MMA.
What ranks and titles have you held? Brown belt in Wado Ryu karate-do 2001, CFA belt lightweight championship 2011, 3rd Dan black belt judokickbox 2012, ISKA Champion 2009
Do you have any heroes? Jesus Christ is my hero. I wouldn’t be here without him.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? Fighting in the UFC, the world’s largest MMA organization, means that I can show the world my talent and be able to provide a better future for my family, especially my two daughters. It means that once I succeed further in the organization I will be able to provide more help to those in need. It is an honor to be a part of this big family that is the UFC.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I attended school post high school in Cuba and studied sales management.
What was your job before you started fighting? The job I had and still have is working for an export company loading vehicles into containers being exported overseas.
Specific accomplishments in amateur competition? 6 gold medals in karate youth nationals, 4 wins in Sanda San-shou tournaments were I won one Silver and 3 Gold medals
Specific accomplishments in pro competition? I have had 6 victories and in my last bout I won the lightweight tournament in the organization Championship Fighting Alliance on December 17, 2011
Favorite grappling technique: no specific one
Favorite Striking technique: Anything that KOs my opponent.