Interview with Yorgan De Castro above
The highs and lows have been extreme for Yorgan De Castro.
After knocking out Justin Tafa at UFC 243 in front of a record-setting 57,000 fans in his promotional debut, the Cape Verde representative has lost two in a row with lackluster outings against Greg Hardy and Carlos Felipe in 2020.
Although he makes no excuses for those performances, something seemed to have been missing and it looks like he found it on a recent trip back to Portugal.
“I met my old coach, a lot of kids that look up to me,” De Castro told MyMMANews. “So I had my motivation back. You never know what you really doing in life until you meet the people. I went to Portugal. People love me down there.
“They all said they would wake up at 4 am to watch me fight. People stop me in the restaurant, in the malls, and say, ‘We don’t really like MMA. We never know about UFC. But the fact you carry the flag, me and all my family is always watching you.’ I was super motivated. I came back with a different mindset.”
The altered mentality was inspired by the youth of the country. The stories De Castro heard from the children looking to replicate his journey to the top echelon of the sport had a tremendous impact.
“The kids that believe in it,” De Castro said about his influence. “The fact that I made it. They can do it, too.
“There were kids walking, I’m talking about 40 miles from their house to the gym. Walking to train cause they see me over there and they think they can do it, too. That was very emotional for me. They keep saying the same thing, ‘We don’t care if you get knocked out or out. When you go there, just fight your fight. We will always be proud of you.’
De Castro will make the walk next against Jarjis Danho at UFC on ABC 2 on April 10 in Las Vegas. The 33-year-old heavyweight slugger comprehends the severity of another loss.
“I’m a realistic guy,” De Castro said. “This is do or die for me. Even though people don’t believe if I lose I’ll get cut, I don’t think so. UFC treats me good. They like me but at the end the day I have to win fights. If you’re not winning, they are going to have to cut you. I feel like this is a do or die.
“People keep telling me that I’m just gonna have fun and do my thing. And at the end of the day, it’s a job. I’m back to Contender Series mindset. I’m going to fight for another contract.”
South Korea-based combat sports reporter that covers many of the major organizations around the world.