I met up with Aaron Lanfranco at Pluckers, which seems to be a place he and his friends frequent quite a bit. Aaron claims to have a pretty simple life style that consists of his basic needs: working, training, eating, sleeping and spending time with his girlfriend. One thing that stands out about him is his confidence in his ability to succeed in this sport. His fearless attitude is what divides him from the weak and is going to make him a champion. This simple guy has the heart and mindset of a winner and is definitely on the right track to do all he’s set out for himself.
Aaron will be fighting at the TAMMA Texas Fight Fest 15 “Fight Against Hunger” today October 3rd, 2009 at 6:00pm. Enjoy the interview!
Texas Fighting: Aaron tell me a little about how you got started in MMA?
Aaron Lanfranco: I heard about it after watching a couple of UFC fights but then I found out that it wasn’t legalized in Texas, this was like 4 or 5 years ago. When I was younger I was a real active kid. My dad put me in baseball and football and my mom wanted me in sports ‘cus I was a hyper a@@ little kid. If you asked her she’d tell you I was like “zipp” “zapp” here and there. So I did sports throughout middle school and high school and in my freshman year I started wrestling, which was in 2001 I believe. That was my first individual sport that I did. Once I was introduced to wrestling I fell in love with it because of the adrenaline pump. I did wrestling throughout high school and continued with football on into junior college. I ended up leaving wrestling but when I finished college I came back and had nothing else to do. I had to do something, I always have to do something to relieve my anger, my stress so I found a jujitsu gym right down the street from here (south Austin) and started attending.
Texas Fighting: What gym?
Aaron Lanfranco: Relson Gracie Academy with Phil Cardella. After that I found out that MMA was legalized in Texas. Phil asked me, “why did you decide to join my gym?” I told him, “I wanna fight.” Phil told me straight up, ” You’re not ready!” (chuckles) I replied, “well ok, what do I have to do to get ready?” He then let me know that I needed a couple of years in training and experience before I stepped into the ring. I let him know that my background is in wrestling and he told me that I was a step above most people that come into a jujitsu gym. After a couple years on and off he started noticing that I was picking up stuff and he invited me to the MMA classes and for the past 2 years I’ve been training MMA pretty consistently. May of this year I had my first fight after 2 years of training.
Texas Fighting: How many fights do you have under your belt?
Aaron Lanfranco: I’m at four amateur fights, this will be my fifth… One every month man.
Texas Fighting: Good, so what’s your record right now?
Aaron Lanfranco: 4-0
Texas Fighting: So this next fight will put you at 5-0?
Aaron Lanfranco: That’s what I’m fighting for!
Texas Fighting: Do you think wrestling has helped you out in MMA?
Aaron Lanfranco: Oh yeah! And my parents say my grandmother helped me out too ‘cus I have her aggression. (chuckles)
Texas Fighting: Where do you train at now?
Aaron Lanfranco: I still train at Relson Gracie Academy and I train out in Lockhart for my boxing.
Texas Fighting: What gym is that?
Aaron Lanfranco: Puros Chingasos, LTX Fight Club. I started training over there about two weeks before my first fight. They offer jujitsu and other groundwork but I mainly work on striking and cardio conditioning there.
Texas Fighting: What weight are you fighting in for your next fight?
Aaron Lanfranco: 175, I believe it’s welterweight.
Texas Fighting: What weight did you fight in on your last fight?
Aaron Lanfranco: 170. The fight before that was 170, the one before that was 175 and my first fight was 155. (Laughter) Big difference.
Texas Fighting: What weight do you like to fight at?
Aaron Lanfranco: It doesn’t really matter to me but I’ll probably drop to 155 when I go pro. Even then it’s still iffy ‘cus I love to eat!
Texas Fighting: Do you work out with weights?
Aaron Lanfranco: No, it’s just all grappling training. I train almost six days a week. If I’m working a lot, I try to workout whenever I can.
Texas Fighting: What are your goals in MMA? You mentioned “when I go pro” so when do you foresee that happening?
Aaron Lanfranco: I’ve been given advice to just wait to go pro and get more fights under my belt. What I’ve also been told is that I may be big stuff right now but it’s only amateur and when I go pro if I go in with a big head I may be in for an upset. With the momentum that I have right now, I’m going to take that advice. I’ll have a couple more fights and then if anyone wants to sign me, I’ll go! WEC is going to be there in San Antonio tomorrow so hopefully I’ll put on a good show, I really want to put on a good show, and the hopefully I can get a couple good words in to them. There are some guys in WEC that I want to fight but I don’t think I’m ready for it but if they asked me to fight I won’t back down. That’s just the way I was raised to not back down from anything. If you have the opportunity in life take it, don’t pass it up. These are pretty much my plans for going pro. I really just want to be #1, be the champ. I want to be the #1 contender.
Texas Fighting: Whe is your next fight?
Aaron Lanfranco: It’s for TAMMA and will be held in San Antonio, Saturday October 3rd. Fight starts at 6:00 doors open at 5:30. General admission is $20. I’m going to the 5th fight on the card.
Texas Fighting: Who are you fighting?
Aaron Lanfranco: Hmmm, Mr. Wilson I believe. Really I don’t know much about my opponent. It’s like I tell everybody. “Don’t know, don’t care. I’m just in the ring to fight!” I’ve heard he’s good on the ground but I’ve been training both ground and stand up and I’m pretty confident either way so whatever he gives me, I gotta do what I gotta do, ya know.
Texas Fighting: Do you have any knockouts under your belt?
Aaron Lanfranco: Yeah, 1 knockout, 2 TKO’s and 1 submission. Fortunately no decisions.
Texas Fighting: Do you have any favorite fighters, anyone that you look up to?
Aaron Lanfranco: Roger Huerta. We went to the same high school. He was a senior when I was a freshman. We wrestled once and I called him out. It was like my first week of wrestling and I heard he was the big stuff. It was the new guy versus the experienced so I was trying to go all hard to prove something. I took him down and he didn’t like that, so he showed me real quick by cross facing me and roughing me up. I think I even saw stars. I felt his wrath, he took it up a couple levels, then after that I was like, “Good job man!” (laughter) I learned my lesson after that.
Texas Fighting: Have you ever been knocked out?
Aaron Lanfranco: Yeah, not like out cold but dazed where I fell it in my knees. It was a little back yard boxing match when I was in college. We were just passing time, it was off season not really much to do. Out of all the big guys I picked the smallest guy, next thing I know, we’re exchanging hands then “clock” I fall to my knees. I was ready to get back in and start again but my friend was like, naw, naw, naw you’re good. That feeling right there is nothing to brag about but it felt kinda weird (chuckles). It felt like waking up from being passed out or drunk. Yeah, but that’s the only time I’ve ever been knocked out other than being knocked out in football where I was knocked out cold.
Texas Fighting: Did you come from a background of fighters?
Aaron Lanfranco: Naw, my dad was what we’d consider a jock of the high school. He was well known down in the Vally because he was a big guy ya know. His brothers too. My uncles were into baseball. Out all his brother he was the only one to do football. He wanted me to play football or baseball and I wanted to try something different, like wrestling or maybe soccer. My family was very into sports, even my mom who was in track. She was a pretty good runner, a good athlete. She did cheer leading but mainly track, mainly running.
Texas Fighting: Have you been doing any special training to prepare for this fight?
Aaron Lanfranco: Naw, just train like always. I train boxing, jujitsu, I do some take downs, some wrestling, I work on some muay thai. I just work the basics, boxing standing, striking. I’ll work off my back, stuff like that. Phil Cardella is my trainer for jujitsu, Roy Garcia for boxing. Good people, (chuckles) good people. My thai training is with Phil and back in the day Randy Vera. Every bit of coaching is good in my opinion. It never hurts to learn a little bit more.
Texas Fighting: Do you get nervous before a fight?
Aaron Lanfranco: Oh yeah. That’s one thing I got to get over. My butterflies. I get butterflies like a mofo. Even in wrestling, before my tournaments. Even if the guy was a freshman and I was a senior and I already knew what I was doing, I’d still get nervous. It’s a mental thing. You just have to think clear and remember that you already know what you gotta do, you’ve trained for this and there’s no reason to get overly excited. In the gym it’s all technique, real crisp but once you get in the ring and the adrenaline takes over it’s a different story. That’s when you see fighters get sloppy and swing wild. You gotta relax and not let the adrenaline take over you. You have to work on controlling your adrenaline to work for you.
Texas Fighting: Do you have any special thanks you’d like to give to anyone?
Aaron LanFranco: Well my coaches, Phil Cardella, he’s been there training me from the beginning at Relson Gracie Academy. Roy Garcia for Puros Chingasos Fight Wear and sponsoring me with his fight wear. My family and friends for there support. They’re all traveling to San Antonio and spending money to go see me. My girlfriend here. Even though we’ve had some rough times, we’ve stuck together. She’s helped me out a lot, she’s really been there for me, I could on on about that – she’s really helped me out a lot. Everybody that’s helped me. My training partners, my neighbors who’ve made attempts and offers with little things even if it’s just offers and I refuse I’m still thankful to them for at least trying to help out. Too many people to name. If I do make it on to UFC, which I hope and I do win a belt on TV, I just want to say to all the people that doubted me – THANK YOU! I see myself thanking them while up in the ring being the champ saying, ” Thank you for doubting me, ‘cus it added fuel to the fire.” They know who they are.