Figueroa returning to the cage

GILROY – A lot has happened to Gilroy native Anthony ‘AntDawg’
Figueroa, since his last mixed martial arts fight 14 months ago. He
has been busy.
GILROY – A lot has happened to Gilroy native Anthony ‘AntDawg’ Figueroa, since his last mixed martial arts fight 14 months ago. He has been busy.

Some of it has been good, some painful, but the time between the pro fighter’s last encounter inside the cage, it has all contributed to his return to action Feb. 4.

From opening his own gym, Universal Strength Headquarters, in Gilroy last April, to recovering from a fractured elbow he received in his last fight and training for his comeback, the now 30-year-old Figueroa has kept his schedule full in anticipation of his return.

“I was trying to fight last year but the fights kept falling through,” said Figueroa, who carries a 4-4 record into next month’s fight. “I’m glad to be getting back in the cage and get my feet wet again.”

Running his gym in downtown Gilroy, which was recently expanded, has kept him busy as well, teaching up 45 students who range in age from 4 to 17.

“We have competed in submission grappling tourneys and kickboxing tourneys,” he said. “We are currently building a fighting team.”

A name for that team hasn’t been formulated as of yet, he added.

Figueroa said that he doesn’t see too many setbacks stemming from his extended absence from competition, adding that coaching the kids at his gym has helped put things into perspective.

“Last year was really heartbreaking,” he said. “I lost three matches, it was the toughest year. But teaching the kids has put me at another level mentally and I have had fun training.”

Figueroa is scheduled to fight Phil Perez of Fresno in one of the undercard bouts at Tachi Palace Fights 3 in Lemoore.

The two bantamweights are one of 13 matchups on the fight card.

Perez holds a 7-5 career record.

“I haven’t really researched him, I know he’s a bigger guy,” Figueroa said. “But I’m used to fighting bigger guys.”

More information about Figueroa’s upcoming bout can be found on the Tachi Palace Web site.

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