When I was 17 years old, I had a set of killer hoop earrings, smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, and had aspirations to become a blonde headed rapper. At 17, Aaron Pineda couldn’t be any more different than I was, and thank God for that. Pineda is getting ready to make his MMA debut Saturday night at Cage Combat 16. He is set to face off against Dequette Reed in a bantamweight bout. Pineda has been training for the past two years, but recently moved to The Athletic Performance Lab to prepare for his debut and is eager to start his MMA career this weekend.
Word is, if he wins, it will not be the quarterback on the varsity football team taking the captain of the cheerleading squad to homecoming. I caught up with Pineda to see how things were going leading up to his first taste of fisticuffs.
Pinche Mark: So, you’re not 18 yet. How do your parents feel about you fighting?
Aaron Pineda: Well, at first, my parents weren’t all that into the whole me “fighting grown men” thing. But over time, they saw I loved this sport and I wasn’t too bad at either. So eventually. they welcomed the idea.
PM: What about your friends? Any Karate Kid moments at school?
AP: No Karate Kid moments have happened yet. Actually, everyone at my school is very supportive. I mean, I have people I barely even know, coming up to me and wishing me luck. It’s a good feeling to know my school supports me.
PM: What are your hobbies outside of MMA?
AP: Well, whenever I’m not at The Lab, I enjoy playing video games and eating junk food. I’m not a big “going out” kind of guy, I’d rather sit at home and play video games until my bedtime.
PM: What do you know about your opponent, Dequette Reed?
AP: Other than his name, I don’t know much. I know he’s going to want to stand with me, and I’m ready for that.
PM: Where do you prefer a fight to take place, standing or on the ground?
AP: I’m pretty comfortable no matter where the fight goes. I’m confident in my hands, and love working my jiu-jitsu and wrestling. So either way, I’m happy.
PM: What will your game plan be for this fight?
AP: My game plan is to use my hands, take him down when he’s tired, then work for the finish.
PM: How would you prefer to win a fight? By way of KO or submission?
AP: It’d be awesome to get either one! I mean, if he goes down, then great. If he leaves a limb out there for me to grab, I won’t say no.
PM: What fighters do you admire the most?
AP: My favorite three fighters are Jason Miller, Brock Lesnar, and Chael Sonnen. However, I’d have to say, the fighters I admire most are the fighters from The Lab. They’re in there everyday working harder than anyone I’ve ever seen before.
PM: Who all would you like to thank for helping you prepare for your debut?
AP: I’d like to thank my coaches: Sam, Richard, David, and Jeremy. They really pushed me hard since day one to help me see what I am capable of. I’d also like to thank my teammates for coming in everyday, pushing me and motivating me. Last but not least, I want to thank my family and friends. Without them, I’d be the same lazy kid I was three years ago.
Don’t miss the return of Garcia Promotions, and the debut of Aaron Pineda. Get your tickets for Cage Combat 16!