Fernando Gonzalez is not a stranger to the kickboxing ring. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Back when Fernando Gonzalez was struggling to find fights and make a name for himself in mixed martial arts, he took a couple kickboxing bouts to fill the void.
At the time, it was more a matter of staying active than a new career path. Now, Gonzalez believes he has a chance to make a significant statement in his MMA career -- in the Glory kickboxing ring.
“The Menifee Maniac” will face Paul Daley at Bellator 142 “Dynamite” on Sept. 19 at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. Bellator has upped the spectacle ante for the event, as the arena will include both a cage and a ring; Gonzalez-Daley will be one of four kickboxing matchups on the card.
Gonzalez has authored an improbable four-fight winning streak in Bellator MMA, defeating Karl Amoussou, Karo Parisyan, Marius Zaromskis and Curtis Millender to establish himself as a person of interest in the welterweight division. However, he doesn’t view the change in combat venue as an impediment to his progress within the promotion.
“I feel that an MMA fight against Daley, I win that pretty easily. He doesn’t really have a good ground game. I know if I was able to take him down to the ground I more likely win that fight easier than a kickboxing match,” Gonzalez told Sherdog.com. “I know he’s a very tough opponent and his style is kickboxing. His main thing is he destroys people on the feet.
“If I beat him at his own game, I feel there’s no reason for us to fight in MMA unless he challenges me for a belt after I win the title... I honestly believe that, if I beat him at his game, I deserve a title shot.”
Gonzalez, who said he began boxing when he was five or six years old, relishes the chance to throw caution to the wind in standup exchanges, an opportunity that doesn’t often present itself in a multi-faceted MMA contest.
“There’s just certain things that are going to put you in bad positions in MMA,” he said. “If you go all out like a kickboxer would, you don’t have to worry about the takedowns. I plan on showing some new tricks in there and have fun with it.”
While Gonzalez isn’t opposed to fighting under the Glory banner again in the future, his primary focus is earning a shot at reigning Bellator 170-pound champion Andrey Koreshkov. However, Gonzalez is aware of the Nieky Holzken-Daley talk that initially followed the Bellator “Dynamite” announcement, and he wouldn’t mind facing Glory’s welterweight king should the opportunity arise.
“I want to get my Bellator title first, but I would not be opposed to fighting again in Glory,” he said. “I like being able to put on good shows for the fans and for myself too; I want to compete against the best. Whether it be MMA, kickboxing or even boxing. I know that Spike throws boxing shows too. I like to compete in any kind of sport. If it makes sense, if I’m getting paid right, then I’m definitely interested in coming back and fighting again.
“Nieky Holzken had asked to fight Paul Daley on this card, and they ended up giving it to me,” Gonzalez continued. “They said something about the winner might fight Nieky Holzken for the title. I’m not opposed to it, but I want my Bellator title first. That’s what I’ve been working my butt off for.”