I want to fight only dangerous guys. Whenever I've done that in my career, I've stepped up and risen to the challenge.
I had to fight Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis, Gil Melendez, Rafael Dos Anjos. I had to fight these guys in order to prove myself in order to get a title shot.
I started this fight career with one objective. When I step inside a ring or an octagon, it is to beat the guy in front of me.
I rarely think that when a guy loses a fight, it's a weight issue. You can either fight, or you can't.
I want the best guys the promotion has to offer, put them in front of me, and I'll beat them.
I will do whatever the UFC tells me to do, but there's not a doubt in my mind that I can be champion.
When I joined UFC, I said I want to be involved in fights where millions of fans are watching, biting their fingernails, thinking, 'What the heck is going to go on here?'
I think sports is a quest to find out what really is - not what perceptions are.
I believe that in order for me to consider myself one of the top ranked lightweights in the world, I have to go out and dominate the fight.
There's a part of martial arts where we need humility and respect.
In this sport, the good thing about the UFC and MMA in general is a lot of it's based on perception.
Gray Maynard? Kenny Florian? All these guys, they're UFC fighters, that's all. They're pushed by the UFC, but when they leave the UFC, they're forgotten. When's the last time you heard Josh Neer's name? You haven't. When's the last time you heard about Roger Hurerta? You haven't. They're no ones anymore.
The fans, man, the fans have a little different way of thinking. They really applaud the spirit of fighters, and that put a huge influence on the type of energy I fought with, rather than if I won or lost. America's a real win-or-lose culture, where with the Japanese, fighting with spirit is enough.
The truth is, a large majority of the market, I'd guess 80 percent, doesn't know anything more than what they are sold.
I'm a whole lot more than just Spanish or Irish or whatever, but definitely, it's given me help. It's given me a push, and I'm very proud of my Spanish heritage.
I've been fighting the best guys, so I would like a gimme fight.
I don't like going to 155; I do it because everyone else does.
I'll beat a bunch of good guys, and then I'll get a ton of fans come up to me and go, 'Do you think you can beat Conor McGregor?' And I'm like, 'Oh my God. You guys are disillusioned.' They think because this man's popular he's good.
Although I'm shorter, all of my weight I carry in my back and my butt. That's where most of my weight is.
If your worst fear can come true, and everything can still be OK, then there's really not much to fear at all.
I don't have a nickname. But, hey, they can call me what they want - The Silent Assassin, The Underground King. In Japan, they call me American Knuckle Star. Call me what you want.
Where most kids play stickball and hockey, I'd walk down the streets with two sets of boxing gloves and knock on my friend's door and see if he wanted to box. There were boxing gyms on every corner.
I want to prove the naysayers wrong. They're everywhere. And to be honest with you, they're all I see, and they're what motivates me.
I have a very good ground game and very good wrestling. People just underestimate it. That's it. I want to keep it like that.
If I can put the right guy with the right mouthpiece in front of the right opponents, we can build a champion, but he doesn't really have to beat the best guys; we just have to give him the right matchups.
There's a lot of guys in the UFC who are good at one thing, and they get matched up stylistically well.
The idea is to go out there and win in a dominant fashion. That changes people's minds, the way they're thinking about me, and lets people know I'm here to contend for a title.
I've got the fighting Irish, and Puerto Ricans are some of the best fighters in the world. I'm proud of who I am, but it doesn't define me as a person.
I boxed. I did track and field; I did basketball, football, any sport I was able to sign up for.
The first time I fought Mike Chandler, I was thinking about money way too much. I was thinking about the end of my contract. My focus was way off. I didn't believe in the people that were guiding me.
The goal never changes. It's about beating the guy in front of you.
I won my first 10 fights by knockout. The money was getting larger at the same time.
I like to be with my back against the wall in dangerous situations.
Where in normal neighborhoods, they would play stick ball and hockey and baseball, we used to slap box and bring boxing gloves down the street and box each other.
It's hard when you win the title to not think, 'I'm here. Now what do I do?'
Fighting in general, but especially when I was younger, was tough to deal with because there are so many external things going on that want to control you that most people have no clue about.
There's not a single strike that good preparation can't negate.
You don't want to be in a fight of the year. It takes years off your life. But, it's why fans tune in; it's why people gravitate toward your fights. It's why people want to watch you fight. It's important to get into them, but it's important to try not to get into too many of them.
I want an opportunity to fight the best in the world and make millions of dollars doing it.
I'm my own biggest critic, so no matter what was being said in the media or being said by fans, I feel the worst when I disappoint myself.
Money is always a motivating factor, but money has never been my driving force. In my first fight, I paid the promoter in order for me to fight. I was in the hole 300 bucks for that. Money has always been a byproduct of me doing something I love.
I think it's important to say that I am genuinely thankful for the time at Bellator.
People say I'm good at standup. I don't even think I'm that great at standup. I just hit hard. I don't think I'm super technical or anything like that. I got a couple knockouts. I think I just hit hard more than anything.
If you're not successful at a certain weight, it rarely has anything to do with gaining or losing 10 pounds. It's something inside of you that you need to fix in order to win. It rarely has anything to do with cutting 10 pounds.
When I say 'fighter,' I am thinking about how you deal with adversity, how you deal with being in bad situations.
Me? I'm no sob story. I get paid well, and I live comfortably.
These kinds of fights, these big fights that get everyone talking and interested, these are the fights I want.