Yorgan De Castro is looking for redemption.
“The Mad Titan” returns to action for the first time since his UFC release this weekend. He was initially scheduled to have his first post-UFC fight in August; however, he was forced to pull out of his fight— the first time he has had to in his career.
“It was ten days from the fight, and my wife fell and broke her ankle in two places. She is the backbone of the family. She is the one who does everything. I had to stop being selfish and help her; she has helped me for 16 years. We can always fight another day, but family is family,” De Castro told Cageside Press in an exclusive interview.
De Castro burst onto the UFC scene when he knocked out Justin Tafa in a little over two minutes at UFC 243 in Melbourne, Australia. The UFC definitely took notice of his debut because they put De Castro on UFC 249, the COVID-19 return card, against Greg Hardy. Then they put him in the co-main event of UFC on ESPN: Holm vs. Aldana on ‘Fight Island,’ and then in his last UFC fight, he was on an ABC card. In April, the Cape Verdean fighter was released from the UFC two weeks after losing his third consecutive fight.
While being released from the biggest fight promotion could cripple someone’s career, especially someone who has only been fighting professionally for four years, it hasn’t for De Castro.
“I’ve been telling everyone that I don’t attach too much to stuff, and I don’t take anything as a guarantee. It was okay. I didn’t perform as I should, and this is the fight business,” De Castro said. “I lost three in a row, and my last couple of performances weren’t good. It’s like a job; I got fired, so I have to come back again. Immediately as I got released, I was like, ‘Wow, we got to do it again.”
De Castro will be using his time outside of the UFC to hone his skills.
“Remember, I got signed at 4-0; that was one and half years into my pro career. This is good for me. I don’t care what people think, I do think I have the skills to be in the UFC, but I need to polish those skills. I need to find the motivation. I need to do everything right; being a fighter is not just fighting. I wasn’t 100% in the UFC; I had injuries, I cut some corners,” De Castro said. “Right now, I’m doing everything right. I’m eating right, training three times a day, I’m not drinking anymore. I need this, to be honest with you.”
“The Mad Titan” returns to the promotion where he started his professional career, CES MMA. He fought three times for them between 2017-2019. However, this time it is much different because now he has a name behind him.
“I never got the chance to fight in front of my people [in Massachusetts]…When I was around last time, I wasn’t that big of a name, so I was on the undercard. I didn’t get a chance to do all this,” De Castro said. The former UFC fighter only got to fight in front of a crowd once because of the pandemic, so on Sunday, it will be his first fight in a year that will be in front of a crowd. “It is going to be insane. I have already sold more than 200 tickets. The place is going to be packed, and the support is going to be amazing. I like this.”
De Castro headlines CES 65 against Danyelle Williams (8-6-1) on November 7.
“He is a very game opponent. He’s got 14 pro fights and has been in there with a couple of good guys. This is a good matchup, and the fans will love it. I do think I’m better everywhere. I’m going to finish him in the first or second round,” De Castro.
De Castro knows he has a target on his back now that he is back on the regional scene. He understands that fighters will be trying to make a name off of his.
“He asked to fight me. He was supposed to fight my teammate Domingos [Barros], but I had no opponent at the time, so he asked the promotion to fight me. It is a good fight for him and me. I get to prove that I got to the UFC because I was on a different level.
If I can’t beat Danyelle Williams, then that means I was never that good.
“If he wants it, let’s see him deal with me…He gets to prove that he deserves to be in the big league by beating me. Good luck.”
This isn’t the first time De Castro has gone on a three-fight skid. During his amateur career, he lost three straight but then rattled off five wins to make it to the UFC. He believes there is a very similar path happening.
There is no doubt that De Castro is fighting for redemption. He feels he let people down and wants to prove that he still has it.
“Redemption,” De Castro said. “I believed that I was going to be in the UFC forever, and I failed that. I need to redeem myself and to everyone who trusted me- my family, my coaches, my management, and my teammates. People believed in me so much, but I think I failed them, and I want to redeem myself. I want to be great.”
Watch the full interview with Yorgan De Castro above. You can watch his CES 65 fight against Danyelle Williams exclusively on UFC Fight Pass this Sunday, November 7.