The last time Pearl Gonzalez stepped into the cage against Vanessa Porto at Invicta FC 34, the fight had an unfortunate ending as she lost by technical decision due to an accidental eye poke. Coming into the fight Gonzalez had aimed to honor her Father who passed before the fight and with her family in the stands for the unfortunate ending, the night went everything but according to plan.
Now, after a last-minute change to the Invicta FC 37 main event, Gonzalez will face Brogan Walker-Sanchez in the main event on Friday, October 4, which will be streamed on UFC Fight Pass. As she prepares to return to the cage for the first time since February, Pearl Gonzalez spoke with MyMMANews about the lessons learned in her last fight, honoring her Father, and what to expect from her at Invicta FC 37.
Although there was a disappointing ending to her last fight, Gonzalez said she was able to go back and watch the fight and took away plenty of learned lessons that she feels will help her in her upcoming fight.
“Absolutely, you know, losses are never good. I’m not in this sport to lose. They’re heartbreaking and they’re painful. We put a lot of effort and hard work into our fight camps and then believe that we can win. So when that doesn’t happen, it’s heartbreaking, it’s devastating. Yes, my fight was unfortunate the way it ended with the whole eye poke thing. But for me looking back, I have watched the fight now several times and given that it went to the scorecards, she was winning on the scorecards.
Was it unfortunate? Yes. Did I have a round and a half left to catch up and win that? I did. I do believe I would have, however, where it was at, I did lose. So, for me, I am 100% accountable for my success and for my failure. I have to go back and look at the mistakes that were made at that time. The mistakes that were made in the camp, leading up to the fight, what went wrong?”
Having to go through the passing of her father before her fight, Gonzalez admits that there were hurdles to overcome, especially emotionally.
“There were several things that I was going through emotionally and mentally. Looking back, you know, I was dealing with the loss of my Father, I didn’t deal with that properly. I ignored it and I just kind of hid in the training and ignored emotions that I went through. So come holiday time, it was a really difficult time for me last year, which is right when my camp started.
So, I had an incredibly tough camp, and it wasn’t any different than any other camp, it was just where I was mentally. And so, there were a lot of mistakes made there. First and foremost, emotionally, I should have dealt with a lot of what was going on prior to that camp starting. And then moving forward after the fight, I gained a lot of confidence. I learned a lot of lessons from that fight and the mistakes that were made. I didn’t get beat up in that fight, she wasn’t beating me in the striking, she wasn’t ground-and-pound beating me. I read articles with people saying that I was dominated, and I didn’t really think I was dominated.
But you know, this is the fight game. This is what I’m here for, I’m not just here to win, I’m here to get better every single day. I harp on that, that’s just my motto, every single day I focus on getting better in one small way. One small thing a day is a success, as long as I improve. The last fight was unfortunate however, I left that cage a better fight and a better person.”
Knowing what she knows now, Pearl Gonzalez, like many who lose a parent, said she wasn’t ready to accept the passing of her father leading up to her last fight, but for Invicta FC and for every single day moving forward, she will honor him.
“Absolutely. My dad is with me, I am a part of him, I look in the mirror every single day and I see him. I talk to him often and I feel his presence and love. But I also have allowed him to rest. I think in that last fight I just was refusing to accept that he was gone. I was just so angry at my reality and just didn’t want to accept that this is where I was, that he was gone. And fighting, I was internally fighting that and fighting myself along with fighting her, so it was just a really heavy camp. This time, yes my dad, he’s with me, he’s always with me, he’s by my side and with me every day so yeah, this fight is much different.”
Now that Pearl Gonzalez has taken learning lessons both inside and outside the cage from her last fight, she says she intends to “hurt” her opponent at Invicta FC 37, saying fans will notice a big change in her intent.
“My intent, my aggression, every strike will have a purpose, and every strike will be intended to hurt this girl in front of me. I think that you’re going to see more weapons.”
Facing the undefeated Brogan-Sanchez fuels Gonzalez even more, because she knows that she can be the one to hand her opponent her first career loss.
“I know it, I know it. I’m coming in here and I’m not just coming in here to fight this girl and win. I feel like every one of her fights that she’s won, obviously all six have been by decision, I feel like she didn’t win the fight against Cheri Muraski, I gave that fight to Cheri, but the judges gave it to her. All of her fights have been won by decision, and I’m not coming in here to fight, I’m not coming to beat you, I’m coming to hurt her. I’m coming to knock this girl out, or take her out, submit her, in any way, shape, form, or fashion, I’m just coming to finish this fight. I don’t want to come and fight, I’m coming to finish, and end, this girl.”
The loss of her father and an unfortunate ending in her last fight have all shaped and helped Pearl Gonzalez grow both inside the cage and outside of it. Making changes to her training and to herself, she promises to hurt and finish Brogan Walker-Sanchez at Invicta FC 37.
You can hear the complete 30-minute interview with Pearl Gonzalez below:
Mike Pendleton is a current contributor to MyMMANews while also hosting his “On The Mic” podcast and is a former Associate Producer at Sirius XM’s Fight Nation.
With a special passion for interviewing and talking to the very best around the fight game, you can read or listen to Mike’s work across his multiple outlets.
Follow me on Twitter: @MP2310