José Alday looks to put on another show in his hometown as he takes on UFC vet Joby Sanchez in the main event of Combate Tucson.
By the time the year will have closed out, José Alday will have competed three times in 2019, all in headliners in his home of Tucson and tied with only Erick “Ghost Pepper” Gonzalez and Rafa Garcia for activity in Combate Americas. While Alday’s focus is on tonight’s fight with Joby Sanchez, he is also aware of the favorable position he’s been granted with several chances to compete in the calendar year.
“I don’t know what it is. I really like it because it allows me to take care of my family. I’m happy with Combate, they’ve given me a lot of opportunities. I’ve been talking to some of my buddies who have fought two times and are looking to get that third one in. Marcelo Rojo, a good buddy of mine who is here in Tucson with me right now, he’s going for his second one this year. We all have families and goals and I’m just happy that they gave me the opportunity to fight so many times.”
Combate Americas has undergone plenty of changes in the last several months, with a new co-owner in Kate del Castillo and the recently announced jump into the pay-per-view market with the fight between Tito Ortiz and Alberto del Rio. At the same time, Alday has grown and developed as a fighter. As has now been documented, he was a virtual unknown when he shocked the veteran John Castaneda and later Gustavo Lopez to win the bantamweight title in the same year. Along the way, he has changed as a fighter and an individual himself as he’s become a more mature athlete.
“In the last couple years, since I got back to the United States and signed with Combate I’ve been pretty active. I’ve lost count but I think this is going to be my fifth headliner for them. That’s a lot of fights for aa year and a half. But I’m happy because I think I’ve grown as a person and athlete. I’ve gone through highs. I’ve gone through lows. I think right now, I don’t know if people see it this way but I think I’m a pretty scary guy. I’m a killer and I’m ready to fight anybody. Anybody in this world, anybody in this division, even at 145 if they were to give me the opportunity. I believe it in myself, my skills, and my team.”
José Alday has a close eye on the bantamweight division and the belt currently around Gustavo Lopez, the fighter who wrested the belt from him back in March. “El Pochito” has not been told that a victory would get him a rematch and a chance to regain the title in a rubber match with Lopez and he’s also mentally prepared himself for the possibility that Combate Americas could go with one of his friends and other competitors at 135 pounds.
“I feel I should be the number one contender. I was just the champ and although I came up short against Gustavo I had the belt and I think I should be up there. But I wouldn’t be so upset if they gave my buddy Eduardo “El Pube” Alvarado the opportunity. He’s been in the company awhile and picked up some important victories. He’s there. I know Marcelo “Pitbull” Rojo is there. I’m not greedy either. I respect the hustle and if Combate gives them the opportunity I wouldn’t be upset.”
The former champion also gave an update on one of the other storylines of his career. Late in 2018, it seemed that a battle with Mexican MMA star Erik “Goyito” Perez was all but assured. Instead, Perez recently announced a move to Bellator. José Alday discussed running into Perez since then and the mutual respect shared between the two.
“I was kind of upset that they didn’t come to terms. I know a lot of things were said. He got upset, I got upset. But at the end of the day I talked to him at the Combate event Mexicali. I told him I have no problem with him. He told me he’s cool with me. We need the competition. We need the UFC. We need Bellator. We just need a lot of outlets for the fighters to go and get better. Especially for Latin American fighters, we don’t get a lot of opportunities. We have Combate Americas and LUX coming through in Mexico.”
— Combate Americas (@combateamericas) October 11, 2019
Outside of tonight’s action, Alday also has inside scoop on the recently announced battle between Tito Ortiz and Alberto Del Rio. Specifically, he sees proof that “El Patron” is not going into an exhibition as many have speculated. Alday also mentions that he’s more than ready to add to the pay-per-view festivities if possible in December.
“I think it’s a tough fight for Alberto. I know he wanted a big fight. He hasn’t fought in ten years and that’s something to keep in mind but he knows he can do it. I think that’s the first victory is just knowing you can do it. I know he’s working hard in Phoenix right now with my buddies at UKF gym and Javier Torres. He’s making the sacrifices. He’s leaving his family for weeks until his fight. He’s doing everything to win this fight. I think it’s a good thing, they’re trying to grow and try pay-per-view. All I can do is hope for the best because this is my home. If they’re successful, we’re all going to be successful. I think that’s more than enough time for me to get ready to fight on that night. If they knock on my door and offer some good money why not?”
The battle tonight is flying under the radar but it could well be one of Alday’s toughest matches to date. Previously scheduled to face Andre Barquero, Alday is now facing a late replacement in Joby Sanchez who previously competed in the UFC after being awarded a contract through Dana White’s Contender Series. José Alday recognizes the big stage experience in favor of Sanchez, but is extremely motivated to send a message in his hometown of Tucson.
“This fight gives me more than the one I had previously. He’s been in the UFC, he’s fought some of the best guys. He’s fought contenders like Wilson Reis. That’s a lot to say about Joby. I think it’s just better for my career. I’m ready. I think his style doesn’t match up well with mine. I think Joby made a huge mistake. I think he shouldn’t have taken this fight. I know he’s coming off a loss to Mark de la Rosa and Brandon Royal, but I’m not the guy he should have taken the fight against.”
José Alday takes on Joby Sanchez in the main event of Combate Tucson TONIGHT, live on Univision at 9pm PT.