A fight is an exploration of your identity. It’s a measure of your heart and your ability to endure pain, much like life. In the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) are many great up-and-coming fighters, bred to make the cage their personal playground of mayhem.
One in particular is Paul Blancaflor, 24, who grew up in Rancho Peñasquitos and attended Mount Carmel High School.
Blancaflor holds the C.A.M.O California State title at 155 pounds and is currently undefeated (8-0-0). His fighting mentality was sparked by a curiosity for Muay Thai, which led him to experiment with different styles, and that eventually got him addicted to the sport of MMA.
“I never thought about fighting before, but as soon as I got into Muay Thai, I started trying out these new techniques and from there I just got hooked and started going every day. Two years later I was already fighting,” Blancaflor said.
Blancaflor’s friends and family have been enthusiastically supporting his MMA career.
“I hope it takes him far in life,” said longtime friend Jessica Moreno, who has attended many of Blancaflor’s fights.
“Even before he started fighting, Paul was very committed to staying in shape, and now he’s on his own level,” Moreno said. “I can tell he’s really dedicated to MMA.”
It was at Poway MMA where Blancaflor was introduced to the sport, and where he met Waachiim Spiritwolf, a Native American mixed martial artist in the welterweight division. Spiritwolf has competed in such events as King of the Cage and Fight Force, and has trained with such talents as Randy Couture and Dan Henderson. Not only did Spiritwolf introduce MMA to Blancaflor, but he’s also his coach, and their strong bond keeps the wins coming.
“He’s like a big brother to me; he took me under his wings. Everything I know, he's showed me. He’s been like family. He watches my back, I watch his back,” Blancaflor said.
Blancaflor is a man that is never satisfied with his best because he always wants to get better, and that’s an essential trait for any fighter. The cage for him is a showcase for his hard work. For Blancaflor, excellence is a habit.
“Every fight shows how good I am. I always train hard, and I want to get better with every fight,” Blancaflor said.
Before every fight, Blancaflor keeps it simple and contains the excitement that will be unleashed in a furious burst in the cage.
“The day before I fight, I usually go to church and pray, then chill at home and do my regular training,” Blancaflor explained.
In the ring, Blancaflor is a focused machine, ready to break the chain and “jump right in.” He says that the “excitement that I get to fight is what’s going through my mind seconds before it starts.”
Blancaflor has a courageously determined goal for his MMA career: “My immediate goal is to go pro by the end of summer.”
Down the road, he would like to turn his love for the sport of MMA into a professional career.
“Ten years from now I would like to be in the UFC [Ultimate Fighting Championship],” Blancaflor said.
Blancaflor's next match will be at El Centro on May 21.