There are two types of people in the world: those who believe there are two types of people and those who don’t. However, sometimes it does seem that there are two types of MMA fighters. There are the guys who don’t mind playing the heel. They are the ones who like to create controversy and talk smack. You know their names. There’s Chael Sonnen, Michael Bisping and the Diaz Brothers. Even a few of the ladies get into it, like Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler. They are what you might call “the WWE set.”

And then there are the others. These are the fighters who prefer to fight in the cage and not with their words. They are more respectful and less controversial. These are guys like Georges St-Pierre, Benson Henderson, Kenny Florian and Mark Munoz . Most of the ladies fall into this category as well. And you can definitely add UFC fighter Danny “Last Call” Castillo to this list.

Castillo (R) (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

Castillo (R) (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

“I don’t have to hate the guy I fight,” stated Castillo in an interview with The MMA Corner. “I don’t think of it as knocking the other guy out of the UFC or even trying to hurt the other guy. I am just trying to secure my position in the UFC.”

Castillo will face off with Charlie Brenneman, a 19-6 fighter and an UFC veteran, at UFC 172 in Baltimore on April 26.

“I want to to stand and bang. I need to show what I can do coming off this loss [to Edson Barboza]. I expect him to be hungry coming off his loss to Beneil [Dariush]”, Castillo predicted. “He is tough. He’s fought and hung with some of the biggest names in the sport. His strength is his wrestling. It’s saying something that someone who is fairly one-dimensional—I mean we know what he is going to do, but the fact that he is still successful speaks to how good he is and how strong his wrestling is.”

Every fighter needs to look back and learn from the past in order to be successful, but the losses seem to motivate top-level competitors more.

“I am not going to harp on the loss,” Castillo said. “I had the finish in reach. [Barboza] grabbed the fence twice. The one round could’ve been a 10-8 round, but ultimately that loss was my fault. I saw where I made my mistakes. After every fight, win or lose, I’ve been a better fighter. That is my goal—that and for everyone who saw my last fight to be excited for this one.

“It’s on me to be ready for anything. I’ve got to prep my takedown defense, I’ve got to be in great shape and I’ve got to work on my takedowns. That’s one of the things I love about MMA. Anything can happen. It’s constantly evolving every day and new techniques are coming out. You know, it’s not about beating Charlie or knocking him out of the UFC, that’s not my goal. I want to be the best I can possibly be.”

There are MMA fighters with long histories of competing in the martial arts, and then there are the fighters who have wrestling bases. Brenneman has a huge wrestling advantage against almost every opponent, but that won’t be the case against Castillo. Castillo wrestled at Menlo College and was a NAIA All-American.

“I’ve competed for 20 years,” he said. “I love to see how good I can be. Individual sports like wrestling and fighting bring that out. I love to watch football and other team sports and they have their strengths, but mano y mano, it really displays your character. One on one is the best way to compete. Bringing my wrestling into MMA was seamless, but it wasn’t the plan.”

After graduating from Menlo, Castillo was forced to get a job to pay the bills. So he took a desk job in sales and marketing. He was fairly successful despite having no experience. He had benefits, a 401k, a salary and made a commission. He was living the American dream. But it was not his dream. Being parked at a desk just didn’t feel right. In fact, he says it felt like torture. One of his old all-star wrestling teammates found him on MySpace and they reconnected.

When Castillo visited home, he stopped by his friend’s gym. Castillo found Urijah Faber happy and successful. He had a successful gym, a career in fighting, three houses, and he was constantly challenging his mind and body. Then, Castillo went back to his desk job. They kept in touch, talking smack back and forth about competing against each other.

Castillo (L) (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

Castillo (L) (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

“I was paying the bills, but nothing else,” Castillo admitted. “Urijah told me, ‘It takes a certain type of person to become a fighter, and I know you have it in you,’ but I never did martial arts. I might have thrown a few punches in street fights, but had no real experience. I was 28 years old and my company brought in a consultant who was doing what I was doing, but for more money. I put in my two weeks’ notice and that was it.”

Castillo joined Team Alpha Male and dedicated himself to learning his craft. With a professional record of 16-6, and five of those wins by knockout, Castillo is not one-dimensional. Credit for a big part of Castillo’s recent success has to come from former coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig.

“I hate to disappoint those looking for controversy, but there aren’t any hard feelings about him leaving,” Castillo revealed. “Everyone got better and we’ve all done so well under his coaching. I would have liked to have heard it from him—that part was shocking—but he wants to be a great coach and a great father. It’s always been a dream of his to own his own academy and to be closer to his friends and family. I can’t be mad at him for that, for following his dream. We’re lucky to have trained with one of the best strikers and striking coaches in the world. The next coach we have will bring something different to the team, and we will continue to improve. You can see the different styles and lineage of fighters. You can see the similarity in technique with Bang and Bas [Rutten]. I am looking forward to building on my whole game, building from my wrestling base and improving my striking.”

There are fighters who have trouble communicating, and then there are the verbose—Kenny Florian, Chael Sonnen, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal and Brian Stann. These guys have all been excellent commentators or members of fight analysis panels, and it’s clear that Castillo belongs on this list. Watch any of the videos of Castillo and you will hear an intelligent person with a great command of words.

“Sure, I would love to be on the Fox Sports 1 panel like Stann, but that’s not my focus now,” shrugged Castillo. “But I wouldn’t turn it down.”

There is one more category where fighters can be separated into two different types—the fighters who hold the belt and those who want it. Castillo may not have UFC gold around his waist now, but he is one to watch. All the other fighters who square off against him would do well to remember that even though he is a nice guy who helps feed the homeless, he is a beast in the Octagon. And lord help the guy who gets in his way of securing his position in the UFC.

Danny would like to offer a big shoutout to his teammates, friends, and family for without them this dream wouldn’t be possible, especially his mom for her 100% support – bad things might happen without them. He would also really like to thank his electronic friends on Facebook and Twitter for all their support- if you would like to join those ranks please follow him @lastcall155

About The Author

Staff Writer

Amber currently resides in Tampa, Fla., a hotbed of MMA. She was introduced to the sport Memorial Day weekend in 2006 and quickly became addicted. Amber loves the fact that the biggest and strongest don’t always win, the respect the competitors show and that women are finally getting their shot. She also writes a blog for Fight It Out gear. When not watching MMA, Amber can be found at the beach playing volleyball, in the gym learning from Tampa’s only female BJJ Black Belt, cheering on her eight-year-old daughter in tae kwon do, or at her day job. She has a girlfriend, daughter, too many dogs and a cat who lives in the attic. Communication highly encouraged at amber at fightitout dot com.