José “Froggy” Estrada is Combate Americas’ homegrown star, and he’s looking to put on another show when he meets Pablo Sabori in Los Angeles.
You fought three times in 2017 but we haven’t seen you since last September. What have you been working on for the last several months?
“I’ve just been working on the little things with my coaches. Just staying on the program. Staying consistent with training and stay ready. I was hoping to squeeze one more [fight] in but unfortunately it didn’t happen. That was my goal. I’ve been training since the Redlands fight. I had a little time off for the holidays, enjoyed some good food. But even then, I found time to train in-between. I wasn’t working as hard as I am now for April 13 but I’ve been maintaining my training since the last time you saw me in La Jaula.”
I know you were very motivated to fight one more time in 2017. Can you elaborate on why we didn’t see you at the end of 2017?
“Just scheduling. It’s hard to take fights during the holidays for our time. Our coaches aren’t in town. They have lives too instead of just training us all day. It was a mixture of the holidays and coaches were out of town doing seminars. Since we didn’t have a full camp we decided to take some time off, continue our training, and just get ready for 2018.”
Your opponent, Pablo Sabori, was not announced until recently. How long have you known he was going to be the fighter you will be facing and how do you evaluate him as an opponent?
“It’s like every other opponent knocking on my door. I see everybody on social media. Everybody was all ‘Me, him. Me, him’ and now we’re opening the door. I’m not the guy you want to knock the door on. Unfortunately he knocked on the wrong door. It’s going to be a good fight. I’m not underestimating Pablo Sabori. I know where he comes from. I know he’s going to have heart coming from Tijuana. I know he’s a little longer than me. He has a little more reach than I do. We’ve done research on him. I’m sure he’s done a lot of research on me. I know he’s put in a lot of time in the cage himself. I know he was on TUF: Latin America but he only got so far in that. The record is just a number. We’re two men walking into La Jaula. At the end of the day we both have two arms and two legs. Come fight night, the best man is gonna come out with the W.”
What has the process been like to maintain your diet and regiment this time around after making your featherweight debut last year?
“At first, of course I wanted to eat that good food. But that’s part of the game. You have to sacrifice. Especially leading into camp, it makes it that much easier to do the weight cut when you don’t have to cut all that extra weight. So I’ve been staying under control, watching what I’m eating and staying on my diet. I just stayed away from all of grandma’s food. The tortillas, the beans, all that greasy food that she’s serving. Staying consistent with my training since you guys last saw me in La Jaula has been helping me stay at a lower weight so I don’t blow back up to my usual 170lb self back when I fought at 155.”
When looking at the Combate Americas roster, you’re one of the fighters who receives a big push and who many would consider is probably going to fight for a championship when it is announced. Have they spoken to you about that being a possibility in the future?
“That’s always in my eyes. I’m always ready and I’ll get ready when the time comes. I’m sure it’s that way for all the men and even the girls too. There’s always talk about the girls on who’s going to fight for that strap. For me it’s the same thing. If Combate gives me the privilege and honor of fighting for that 145 title, I want to earn it. I want to earn every single little part of getting to that championship title bout. Since I was a kid I always wanted to work for mine. To this day, I’m working my ass off every day. I’m here to work hard and that’s what I’m going to do for this next win and show why I’m the face of Combate Americas whether I have the strap or not. I’ve put in the work and definitely earned my position.”
You will be fighting in Southern California once again. What kind of reception are you expecting from the Los Angeles crowd specifically?
“Some people don’t know but LA is my second home. That’s where my mother is from. When my parents came over that’s where they first stopped, in East Los Angeles. They moved out to Fillmore before I was born. I have a lot of family in Los Angeles. I’ve got my family and they’ll be bringing over a good part of the crowd. So there’s going to be a lot of family from East Los Angeles and Burbank coming down for this one.”
With a lot of friends and family coming, do you ever struggle to accommodate everyone with tickets?
“Thankfully, the guys at Combate manage it. There’s never been a problem getting anyone in my family tickets. They know that’s how us fighters make our little living is with ticket sales. I have their full support, my family, my friends, everybody all comes and buys their tickets. Whether I order 50 or I order 100, if I run out I ask for more and I get more. They always help me out when it comes to my ticket sales.”
Finally, how do you see the fight between yourself and Pablo Sabori going on April 13?
“I definitely expect a war. It’s not gonna end in the first round. I feel like me and him are going to take this fight to every position. I want to say it’s going to come down to whoever works their stand-up or ground game the best. I see us both the same as well-rounded fighters. It’s going to come down to who shows ups with the most heart and the most integrity to win that night. I believe I can win this fight by either technical submission or technical knockout on the ground.”
José “Froggy” Estrada will fight Pablo “El Gallo Negro” Sabori at Combate Estrellas 1 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on April 13, 2018.