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Another HFC Title in Hand, Mike Santiago Awaits the Big Call

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Mike Santiago and Team Top Notch

Mike Santiago and Team Top Notch after winning the title at HFC 33. (Photo Credit: Hoosier Fight Club)

by Mike Pendleton

Most fighters looking to make their way up to the big promotions would jump all over every and any opportunity to help fast forward their career. HFC lightweight champion Mike Santiago, who was also previously the featherweight champion, is not like most fighters.

Santiago captured the lightweight title at HFC 33 when he defeated Nick Wayne with a stellar first-round TKO. The victory for Santiago extended his winning streak to 10, and while he has always stayed busy inside the cage, he’s decided a different route in 2017.

In an interview with ChicagoLandSportsRadio.com, Santiago reflected on his win over Wayne, who was a late replacement just a few days before the fight. Coming in with a long win streak on the line prior to HFC 33, Santiago said he didn’t care about who his opponent was, he just wanted the fight.

“I don’t care who it is, it doesn’t matter. Give me a guy who’s undefeated, give me somebody. I need to fight. We don’t do much of a game plan, we don’t train specific, we train martial arts. No matter who was going to get in there with me, I was ready for a fight.”

Now that the win streak has extended to double digits, Santiago said he’s going to change his game plan and be patient.

“I don’t like to be up on the shelf a lot, but now 10 in a row, I don’t care. If I get the anxiety to fight like soon, I just have to hold off. I can’t just jump right into a fight, 10 fights is saying something, and I hope someone is taking notice.”

A member of the Top Notch Fight Team with Ricardo Lamas as his training partner, Santiago knows he has to always stay ready no matter what.

“I will always be ready and I’m always in the gym. It’s about that time where I have to pull back and hold back when I get that feeling to fight again. We always have guys training to fight so I’m always in fight mode, but now I need to sit back and wait for that gold. I need that call.”

Mike Santiago and Eddie Wineland at HFC 33

Mike Santiago talks with Eddie Wineland after winning the title at HFC 33. (Photo Credit: Hoosier Fight Club)

It’s a phone call that many expect to come soon for Santiago, who has the record and streak to stand on, not to mention the incredible performances he puts on every time he steps in the cage. Santiago always holds respect for the man across from him in every fight.

“Whether the guy trained for eight weeks or trained for a week, there’s a guy across from me that is trained to fight. If anything [in my last fight] I had everything to lose and my opponent had everything to gain. It’s a punchers game but we’re both in there and professionals. It’s a business and sport, and unless there’s bad blood, I respect everyone who’s in there with me.

So what happens if the call comes from the UFC? Santiago said he’s open to fighting at either featherweight or lightweight depending on when the call would come and how long he had to prepare for his debut.

“Right now, I could fight anywhere. Not just my last 10 fights but in my entire career I’ve fought a lot of tough guys. I know I belong there so if they sign me and say I’ve got a certain amount of months, then yeah, that gives me a whole camp to get down to 145. If I have to take a short notice fight at 155, I’m always there. I’m down to fight.”

Mike Santiago may not be a household name yet, but in a game where many fighters would jump at any and every opportunity to grow their name and try to fast forward their career, the HFC lightweight champion is taking a different route.

Being smart, calculated, and patient is what led him to capture titles in two different weight classes and accumulate a  10-fight win streak. Now, with a potential UFC phone call on the brink at any time, Santiago knows it’s time to pick his spot so he can get that long-deserving shot in the big promotion.

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1 Comment

  1. Mike O'Connor

    May 17, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    I would love to see Santiago get the call, because he deserves it.

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