Antonio Banuelos may not be a household name yet in the UFC, but has been under the watchful eye of megastar Chuck “Iceman” Liddell for years.
“I owe everything to Chuck, he’s the one who got me started,” said the student when asked of what Liddell has done for his fighting career. “Without Chuck I wouldn’t be able to fight. There was a time in my life where I didn’t have a job and didn’t know what I was going to do. He found me a job working downtown and told me to keep fighting and plugging away. If it wasn’t for him I might not be fighting, I might be in prison, who knows? This keeps me out of trouble.”
Banuelos is scheduled to fight Scott Jorgenson in a bantamweight match up on the main fight card on April 24. The fight is a rematch in which Banuelos won on a split decision.
This fight will now be the biggest in Banuelos’ career, with the first time being on pay-per-view.
“This fight should show everyone, when I win, that I’m ready to fight for the belt,” remarked Banuelos.
“We had a great bunch of guys and it was a great thing to be a part of,” Banuelos added. “You may see me in the background (during episodes). I don’t think they show me much, but you’ll see me bouncing around, jumping up and down. I was like the timekeeper.”
Banuelos comes from a difficult background in Tulare, California, in which the fighter could have gone in a far different route than he finds himself now.
“We were poor, but it didn’t bother me,” Banuelos remarked. “I can remember a few summers where all I had to eat were beans and Top Ramen. So I still like Top Ramen to this day.”
Banuelos fell into Jake Shields one day, who brought him to MMA matches. That is how Banuelos met Liddell, who took interest in the fighters career since its inception.
“I had a few setbacks, ups and downs,” Banuelos said. “But I had great people around me and Chuck always pushing me forward and telling me to keep my eyes on the goals that I had.
“Chuck gives me advice. He’ll watch me spar. The last month he’s been watching me spar and been all over my ass. He always wants me to get better and tells me what I need to work on. So I’ve learned that hard work pays off. You just keep grinding and putting in the work.”
Online Sportsbooks do not have lines listed for Banuelos’ upcoming bout, but will be posted as soon as they become available.