TGS Exclusive Interview: Fabian Saldivar

Fabian Saldivar and Kirk Hubble.

Kirk Hubble and Fabian Saldivar.

On March 1st, STFC will return to the McAllen Convention Center for another showcase of mixed martial arts action.

Santa Rosa, TX is known to local music fans as Ruben Vela territory. But to local MMA fans, it’s starting to be known as the home of Fabian Saldivar (3-1), who will take on Sonny Luque (5-3) in lightweight competition. Saldivar took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to us here at The Gotch Special.

TGS: What attracted you to MMA?

Saldivar: I was in the military. I was in the Marine Corps and they showed us, the MCMAP – Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. They showed (us) arm locks, arm bars, and stuff like that. That’s what got me into more of the jit-jitsu part, then I just went from there. There were some people that had PRIDE videos. This was back in 2005. From there, I started watching, and started wanting to learn more.

TGS: What gym did you join?

Saldivar: The first gym that I joined is the gym that I’m at (right now) — Ultrafit MMA. My buddy was going there, I told him that I wanted to try to compete and maybe get my foot in the door.

I’ve been there ever since.

TGS: At STFC 22 (7/13/12), in your first fight in the promotion, you suffered a split decision loss to Joseph Tipton. Do you have any memories of that fight? Did you agree with how the judges viewed that decision?

Saldivar: There was a lot of nerves, I kinda wasn’t in the right state of mind. I feel like he won. There was not much going on in that fight. He took me down, he held me down. So I didn’t see much offense from either side. Yeah, I feel like he did what he had to do to win. I really didn’t do much in that fight. I kinda knew the decision before they said it, one that I’d like to get back eventually.

TGS: I remember watching your second fight in the promotion. You landed a vicious bodykick that led to the TKO finish, over Mark Beltran at STFC 23 (12/07/2012). Were you more comfortable in this second fight? Had you been working on the kicking-aspect of your striking in preparation for that fight?

Saldivar: Yeah definitely. My trainer, Joe Garcia, he (teaches me) not just the physical and technique part, but also the mental part.

Not just thinking in one direction, but just being ready for anything. Letting the flow of the fight (take you where it goes). We didn’t plan to stand up and strike with him but we planned for everything. It’s an MMA fight, so anything could happen. We trained everything, so we don’t really specialize in anything at our gym, we’re an MMA school.

TGS: Your most recent fight, had a bit of an unfortunate ending. You were working on a rear-naked choke, when your opponent, Kirk Hubble, seemed to verbally submit after suffering an injury. What are your memories of that night?

Saldivar: It kinda sucks that he was injured. I’m not sure when it happened. I think I had read that it was something before the fight even started, he had an injury or something like that. I felt good (in my performance). I got the distance. When he clinched up with me, he felt strong, but I felt like I was able to control, sweep, and get out of positions. When I stood back up, I felt really comfortable. The distance between us, and his timing, I had down. It sucks that he got hurt. It’s like a little asterisk to the victory. It’s a victory, but I feel people are going to remember it (as), “Oh he got hurt”. I felt good either way. I was working towards the finish.

TGS: Can you tell us a bit about how the training is going and who you’re training with to prepare for this upcoming fight?

Saldivar: My training partners are always the same. Manny Soria, he was supposed to fight in this STFC also. He’s been training me. My main training partner is Jorge Cortez, he’s fought for the STFC, I don’t know how many times. He’s been there since the beginning. He’s a real big help. He’s always there training. And my coaches, Chris Molina and Joe Garcia. We are there training every day.

TGS: The STFC lightweight title has been recently vacated, how many more wins do you think you have to string together before you get a shot at the title?

Saldivar: I’m not sure, actually, we’re kinda talking about it at my gym. We have, Manny and Jorge, planning on going to 155. Or Jorge is starting to go, Manny’s been there. Honestly, I feel like I’m a little small for 155. The gym is thinking of maybe moving me down to 145, and maybe even facing the winner of the (featherweight title) fight on Saturday night. Or even taking a fight at 145, to see how it feels, then challenging for the belt. I’m open to the 155 (title) also. I feel comfortable, but like I said, at times I do feel kinda small for the weightclass.

This past training camp before I knew my opponent, we were planning for a 145 fight. So I started changing my diet. I’m going to be a little bit smaller this time around. We were getting ready for a 145 fight. Either way, I feel good. I didn’t know that it was vacant up until recently, cause I knew Diego had it, and I wasn’t sure if he was going to be fighting for STFC still.

I’m open to fighting for the belt. Honestly I feel like the three wins I have, and after this (fight Saturday night), I feel like I’m right there already. If they have someone in mind to fight for the vacant belt, I think I’m right there, on the cusp of it, as one of the people to go ahead and fight for it.

TGS: Any thoughts on your opponent Sonny Luque? Have you seen any of his fights?

Saldivar: I’ve seen a few videos. My trainers, like Chris, will watch, and he’ll let me know (what he thinks). Honestly I’ll watch a little bit, but I don’t like to focus too much on things that’s he’s done. Or any fights that he’s had before cause everyone is going to get better.

Everyone is going to work on their weaknesses, so if I see a weakness that he has, I’m sure he’s working on it to make it not a weakness. I’m just trying to get myself ready. I never think about the outcome of the fight or anything. I just go in there, and the fight’s going to happen, we’re going to engage.

TGS: Anything you would like to say to the fans who are going to attend the fight?

Saldivar: I want to thank everyone for coming out. I’m just ready to perform, ready to show everyone that I’m serious about this. This year, I feel like it’s going to be a big year. I want everyone to take notice. I’m here to stay.

TGS: Cool, I really want to thank you for your time and for the interview.

Saldivar: Thanks man.

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