PRO MMA (promma.info) caught up with Cage Combat 185 pound champion, David Mitchell, Wednesday afternoon to discuss his recent victory at the Grace Pavilion. Mitchell defeated Josh Neal twenty-eight seconds in the first round of his middleweight title defense this past Saturday night at CCFC-10: Battle for Nor-Cal.
Mitchell, 29, fights out of the Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance in Santa Rosa, CA under the tutelage of UFC veteran, Dave Terrell. Mitchell remains undefeated in his young MMA career, racking up a record of 7-0 with six wins coming by way of submission. Mitchell continues to make waves as one of Northern California’s prospects in the 185 pound division.
PROMMA: David thanks for joining us today.
Mitchell: Oh, not a problem.
PRO MMA: You just fought in your own back yard of Santa Rosa this past weekend. What was the feeling like the moment you stepped inside the cage?
Mitchell: It’s really the best to fight in front of the home crowd. It’s really exciting and everybody is behind you. It’s like this wave of energy and an awesome feeling of support. It’s great.
In the smaller shows a large portion of the fans personally know the fighters and are emotionally invested in the fights. Is that something that sets the smaller shows apart from the larger ones?
PRO MMA: In the smaller shows a large portion of the fans personally know the fighters and are emotionally invested in the fights. Is that something that sets the smaller shows apart from the larger ones?
Mitchell: Most definitely! All my friends growing up, and I grew up in a really small town, all come out and support me. A lot of them didn’t think that this was something that I would do. I was this little kid that kinda bloomed late. I wasn’t really much of an athlete but then I started doing Jiu-Jitsu and it kind of just clicked for me. Everybody is just shocked, surprised and especially being in the main event. Everybody came out this time and I must have sold thirty front row tickets. I looked out before the bell rang and every person I saw was some one that I knew. It’s a special feeling for sure. That may be the last time I get to do that to. I’m looking to move into a bigger show so I relished it and had a lot of fun.
PRO MMA: After this win you are seven and zero and still Cage Combat’s champion. Have you had any offers from some of the larger promotions recently?
Mitchell: There were some things that I was supposed to do. Some fights at Palace Fighting Championship and I got hurt or things fall through. I pretty much leave that in the hands of my manager, Tom Call, and he takes care of that. I was supposed to do some bigger things but so far its worked out really well to fight in Cage Combat and get some experience. I’ve been very pleased with that and I’m hoping after that fight that some people will take notice and, maybe I can get into a big organization like Strikeforce and kick some butt.
PRO MMA: Knowing that you are looking to eventually get on a larger show, how does that affect your relationship with the Middendorp brothers over at Cage Combat?
Mitchell: To be honest I pretty much leave that stuff up to my manager. That’s what I pay him for. I don’t really try and talk to those guys at all about my fighting. If I hang out with them ill be like, “Hey, how’s it going?” or talk about golf or something. I leave that up to the manager but I love those guys and they like me. We try to keep our personal business kinda separate. If they make a good offer we wouldn’t be opposed to signing a contract with them. It seemed like the event sold out and everyone is doing good. It’s a win-win the fights, fans and them. They’ve done a lot for me and I’ve done a lot for them so it’s really good. I can’t see in their minds and see what they are thinking about as far as the future, ya know.
PRO MMA: It was a good night for the Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance last Saturday. The team was 3-0 on the night. Who do you guys have coming out of your gym that fans may not know about?
Mitchell: We actually have a really good girl that’s coming up, Emily “The Time Bomb” Thompson. I’m actually with her down in the city right now heading into Fairtex getting ready to train. We got her coming up. We got Nate Loughran, I’m sure everyone’s heard of him, and he’s fought in the UFC. I’m hoping to see Terrell come back and fight. We’ve got a guy who has done a couple amateur fights, Collin, he knocked out a brown belt in Jiu-Jitsu with a flying knee in his last fight in eight seconds. We’ve got a bunch of guys up and coming and people just keep coming into the gym. What we do is we build fighters. We don’t recruit them like some of these bigger gyms where they try and pull in big talent from other places. We build them from the ground up with a base in Jiu-Jitsu and that’s what happened with me. When I came into the academy four years ago, I didn’t know what an arm bar was. I just learned everyday, five or six days a week just rolling Jiu-Jitsu. Now I’m trying to put together a better stand up game. We’ve got some other guys doing the same. Marcello Cassero, Jake, Hardgrove…he is just coming back into it. We got a lot of young kids ready to fight to. We’ve got a good future at Nor-Cal.
PRO MMA: You were one of those fighters to seek out Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance, correct?
Mitchell: I was living up in Mendocino County and there were no gyms up there. I was doing a bit of boxing and stuff. I wanted to take the fight to the next level. I thought maybe I wanted to do boxing but I saw Chuck Liddell knock out Tito Ortiz and said, “That’s what I want to do!” Then I saw Dave Terrell, he actually lost the fight against Evan Tanner, but I could see that he had talent and he was close enough to where I could drive down and check it out. My girlfriend actually dragged me down there and said, “You need to train with these guys if you’re going to do this.” I was on my own and probably going to try and line up a fight with Gladiator Challenge and didn’t even know any Jiu-Jitsu. It was a struck of luck hooking up and training with Dave Terrell. It’s been great ever since. We work great together and he is a phenom in Jiu-Jitsu, it is just crazy to watch him. I’ve never seen anyone come close to tapping him. I know as long as he is better then me I plan on sticking around, I can keep learning and try to pick out the next thing.
PRO MMA: What have you learned about yourself since training with Terrell?
Mitchell: I’ve learned that I’m pretty good at Jiu-Jitsu. It’s seems to come naturally to me and it’s where I’m most comfortable. I’ve learned lately in my last couple fights that I used to kind of wait guys out, let them get tired and try and dance around and this and that. Now I’ve got a girlfriend and she has got a kid and I just want to get in there, get my check and get out. So I’m trying to find the fastest way to win. It worked out great for me the other night but I’ve also learned that I need to do more with my stand up. When I get to the next level I know these guys are going be harder to take down and harder to tap.
PRO MMA: Being that Josh Neal’s record is not that impressive, was there more pressure on you to win due to the fact that you don’t want to be the guy he beats to get back in the win column?
Mitchell: It was an immense amount of pressure. I really wanted to fight a guy with a better record. Everybody said, “Hey, he’s got a lot of losses but he’s fought some really tough guys.” He was a warrior and he came to fight. He hit me a few times pretty hard but I managed to pull out the arm bar. I felt a lot of pressure like it was a must win kind of thing. Hopefully in my next fight I’ll get a guy with some more wins and we’ll see more of a battle. Some of my friends have paid; like twenty bucks a second just to see me fight and were a little disappointed it went so fast. It was a good night for Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance and Santa Rosa. It was great.
PRO MMA: You mentioned the arm bar and that Jiu-Jitsu comes naturally to you. What would you say is your first instinctual reaction once the fight hits the floor now?
Mitchell: Well the first thing is that you do not want to get hit with those punches so you try and control the guys posture. If he is beating you down then you just want to get out of there and get back to your feet, kick him off or what ever. For me it’s always to control the guy and start laddering up the guard and working submissions. From the guard I’ve got so many moves that, even if he got out of that arm bar, I would have had something else for him. Just keep firing off submission attempts until you get something. I didn’t happen in that fight but I like to control the guy and actually do some damage with strikes from the guard to.
PRO MMA: How far away are you from facing some of the tougher guys at 185 that a promotion like Strikeforce could offer? Say a Eric Lawson, Terry Martin or Scott Smith?
Mitchell: I think I’m close. Maybe, I’ve got a couple more fights. I’d like to fight all of those guys. I’ve also cut to 170 before and we are having a talk about maybe going back to that weight class. I only cut a couple pounds to make eighty-five. I would like to fight some of the better guys at eighty-five and or seventy. Whatever my manager decides what’s best for me I’m just going to go and do that. Hopefully, soon!
PRO MMA: Do you and your management have anything lined up at this point in time?
Mitchell: We are taking our time and seeing what our best option is. He said that he’s got some things in the work but didn’t want to waste my time with it until we get something a little more solid. I’m just waiting to see and I’m going to get back in the gym and get ready for what ever is next. If it is Cage Combat, Strikeforce or whatever it is.
PRO MMA: Thanks for joining us today.
Mitchell: Thank you, have a good one.