Eduardo Martinez: Since we last talked, you fought Leroy Martinez and Eli Tamez. What did you learn about yourself from those fights, which ended up going to split decision? What did you take away from both those fights?
Saul Elizondo: Well, first of all, my fight with Leroy Martinez, I got to say I wasn’t there mentally. I had some difficulties at home with my family in the Valley. So that kind of screwed me up a little bit in the head. I wasn’t as focused as I should have been. Aside from that too, I didn’t bring anyone to corner me that I had been training with. So that was pretty hard to be cornered by someone that hasn’t been working with you for a while. It was a tough fight, Leroy is really a good guy, tough guy, got to give it up to him. He performed really great.
My last fight with Eli Tamez, at Legacy in Dallas. That fight everybody has been telling me, and I believe it, that I got robbed. Because it was a great fight. I think they brought me, thinking he was going to destroy me, knock me out. ‘Cause he was throwing really big haymakers at the beginning, but I think I got the better of him. I had him in trouble the whole fight, the only thing, in the third round, he was in my guard the whole time. But he did no damage from there. He didn’t land any significant punches in the fight.
EM: I remember I was on Facebook that night, and a lot of people posted that they thought you had won that fight.
SE: Yeah, I mean, when even the promoter there tells you “you got robbed”, there is something wrong there with the commission. They probably favored him because he was the home town guy. Unfortunate and unfair but it’s part of the game. But I honestly feel like I won that fight, and I had somebody in my corner that I had been training with, Brandon Garner from North Carolina. He was there with me, and he did a great job coaching me, and helping me cut weight. It was really big support. So that was good to have him there with me.
EM: How many years have you been over there in North Carolina, now?
SE: Well I had been living in North Carolina for 2 1/2 years. Currently I came out to train with the Jackson-Winkeljohn in Albuquerque and I think that’s where I’m going to make my home now, and make a name for myself here. With this gym and camp, it’s great. I did my camp for the fight here and I’m pretty excited for the fight.
EM: How is that experience like being in that gym considering they have produced so many great fighters over the years?
SE: I’ve been here before, it’s the top athletes from all over the world. Not just guys who are in mainstream MMA in the UFC, but guys who fight for other leagues around the world, who are really great at what they do. They bring a lot to the gym, to learn. You have the coaches, Jackson and Winkeljohn, they are really great men. They are geniuses at what they do. They are masters in martial arts, but they don’t wear the gi, but they are basically masters at the MMA game. Incredible to work with them. For this fight I got to work a little bit more with coach Winkeljohn, and he helped me a lot, I am so grateful for him. And I have my friend over here, Cody, I can’t pronounce his last time. But my friend Cody has been living over here for two years, and he helped me a lot for this camp. So I am pretty excited because I am going to have people in my corner that I actually been training with and helping me with my fight, so they know what I have been working on and what I haven’t.
EM: Whenever you fight here in the Valley, a lot of people really love your entrance because it gets them really hyped up. Can you talk about your entrance norteño music?
SE: Originally I come from Roma, TX. It’s a place where there is a lot of bandidos (laughs) or mafiosos, so I grew up around narco-cultura. That’s what I grew up around. So it’s a part of my childhood and I kind of identified with that when I come out with the music. Everybody in the Valley loves it. The whole Valley is a bit of a narco-state, we are right in the border. Growing up like that made me tough, so I feel like coming out to the music makes me pumped a lot. So I like to come out to corridos, to my kind of music, from where I am from, and represent where I’m from.
EM: Will you still be coming out to corridos for this Bellator card?
SE: Yeah, I’m always going to come out to my music because it gets me pumped. Of course, that’s not the only music that I listen to. I listen to everything from classical music to modern music. I love music in general, I appreciate the art of music and how helps you express yourself. Corrido music helps me express who I am and where I come from, so I am always going to want to come out to that. As long as I can, I’m going to be representing who I am and where I am from.
EM: How does it feel returning to the Valley, once again, and fight in front of the Valley crowd?
SE: The Valley is my home, I have a lot of family and friends there. It’s just great, I love coming back to the Valley to fight back in front of them. It’s basically my crowd. The crowd in the Valley, I would say, are just a little crazier than other places, that I’ve been fighting at like in Houston or Dallas. The Valley crowd has this own desmadre, you get hyped. I love the crowd in the Valley. It feels great to come back and fight back in front of them, it’s an honor. To fight my biggest fight, in front of them, and against an opponent that’s where I’m from. It’s pretty cool to fight Amador for this fight, cause we both get to share the experience in this big league. We were both from the same gym, we trained with the same people, so it’s good.
EM: Any last thing you would like to say to the fans?
SE: I want to tell everybody, the fans in the Valley, make sure you don’t miss the fight. You can watch them on TV, but it’s not the same as being there live and experiencing the fights firsthand. So make sure you guys don’t miss the fights, Friday, September 25th. Be there.
EM: Thank you so much Saul.
SE: Igualmente, I’ll see you soon.