James Gonzalez is trying to separate himself from other Cage Fury Fighting Championships [CFFC] title holders, past and present.
Paul Felder, Aljamain Sterling and Jared Gordon are just some of the former champs Gonzalez [6-3] joined after defeating Pat Sabatini for the featherweight strap at CFFC 81 on Feb. 1. The 29-year-old prefers holding two belts instead of one.
The only other fighter to do this at CFFC was Katlyn Chookagian, who held the flyweight and bantamweight titles simultaneously.
“If I’m not taking a short-notice fight for the UFC or anything like that, I’d like to fight for that 135 belt,” Gonzalez said. “I think it would definitely skyrocket me right into either the Contender Series or the UFC giving me an opportunity for a short-notice fight.”
The third time was the charm for Gonzalez. He lost back-to-back Ring of Combat title shots to Mike Trizano and Bill Algeo.
It all turned around with a text.
Gonzalez messaged CFFC Matchmaker Arias Garcia about the possibility of any last minute openings for the CFFC 81 card. After Sabatini’s original opponent fell through, Garcia eventually offered a title fight.
Even on six-days notice, the answer was a no brainer for the Longo-Weidman MMA product.
“He [Garcia] was like, ‘Do you want to talk to your coaches first?’ I was like they will understand,” Gonzalez said. “If I can get an opportunity, build up my credentials and gain some experience, that’s what really matters to me now. That’s why I was so open to fighting short notice because I rather fight than not have a fight and not be competing at all, you know what I’m saying.”
Gonzalez made his CFFC debut and his bantamweight debut all in the same night. He finished Giorgi Kudukhashvili by doctor stoppage in the opening round at CFFC 77 on Aug. 16.
The former bantamweight champion Andrey Keshtov lost to Herbeth Sousa via unanimous decision on the same night. The belt was vacated since Sousa missed weight prior to the fight.
“The thing is I understand this game is unpredictable,” Gonzalez said. “‘Yeah, I can defend this belt and if I win, I can move down to 135 and fight for that belt. If I lose, then I can go down to 135 and not be a simultaneous champ.”
The next fight
His victory over Sabatini ended in unique fashion. Sabatini dislocated his shoulder and his elbow when he stood up to escape a submission attempt from Gonzalez.
The champion is open to an immediate rematch with Sabatini, but is more attracted to becoming a double champ.
“It’s an opportunity I’m not going to get multiple times where I’m going to be champ in one division and have the ability and opportunity to fight in another division and win two belts,” Gonzalez said. “I kind of want to put the pressure on CFFC to let me do that.”