Ike Villanueva decided to switch camps and train in Las Vegas at Xtreme Couture ahead of his light heavyweight bout against Jorge Gonzalez at UFC 252.
“I was having a hard time finding big guys back home to really work with,” Villanueva told The Scrap. “I didn’t want to depend on people day in day out if they don’t show up. I’m hurting myself. Because I’m not getting that push. I went home frustrated one day and told my wife and I’ve really got to make this move. And she’s like ‘Baby, go get it.’ This is everything, so that’s all the motivation I need. I drove out here from Texas to Vegas and that cleared my head. It’s wonderful being reborn again.”
Villanueva (16-10) came up short in his promotional debut against Chase Sherman at UFC 252, losing by second-round TKO. Now with a new camp and in his natural weight class of 205-pounds, Villanueva is expecting his best performance yet.
“I like this matchup and I’m able to show more,” Villanueva said. “I look forward to putting on a great show for everybody. I feel like I owe it to all my fans back home for that last fight. Jorge Gonzalez, he’s tough but that’s all we know. He’s hard-nosed and comes at you like a bull. I’m going to stand my ground and I’ll put on a performance. I look forward to it.”
The 36-year-old expects to finish Gonzales on August 15 and put a stamp on his light heavyweight debut in the octagon.
“This is a TKO stoppage ground and pound or a ‘Hurricane’ fashion knockout,’ Villanueva said. “I don’t see it going the distance between us two. Somebody is going to make a mistake and I look to capitalize on his mistake. People are sleeping on me, I see what they’re saying online. That fuels me. I’m coming for a finish.”
UFC 252 takes place on August 15. Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic defends his title against Daniel Cormier in the main event.