Riverside resident Danny "Ironman" Navarro , 31 does it again; winning his 10th Mixed Martial Arts, otherwise known as MMA, fight in a row Saturday July 19th at the Agua Cliente Casino in Rancho Mirage. Navarro and opponent Jared Moore fought at 155 pounds in the Gladiator Challenge Promotion.
Navarro was 24 years old when he accidentally fell into the sport of MMA and began training with Jiu-Jitsu. He had his first Pro MMA fight in 2007.The competitiveness of the sport is something that kept him going back. Things were not always easy though and Navarro hit a rough patch, but through perseverance pushed through and believed in himself enough to make it to where he is today.
"I was going through one of the hardest challenges of my life; my mother was dying of cancer, she was unable to speak because she had a tracheotomy. I promised her on her dying bed that one day I was going to be champion. She lost her battle to cancer on May 1, 2006 and I fell into a state of depression; I was on the road to self-destruction. I began drinking a lot, street racing, missing work, and I lost my passion for fitness gaining 30+ lbs. We held a mini Olympics challenge for the personal trainers at my work, and I beat one of our fastest trainers on a sprint run and a muscle endurance challenge. This reignited a fire in me and I started to believe in myself again. I started working out and training Jiu-Jitsu again," said Navarro.
Navarro has fought in 14 fights 10 of which he has won.
"I have a unique story because I started off by losing my first four matches. Many fighters in my shoes would've quit but I trained harder and came back to win 10 fights in a row," said Navarro. "Getting my first win in the cage it felt like a huge relief after losing my first four fights in a row. It confirmed to me that I did have what it took to win a fight."
Navarro currently trains in three different gyms in the Inland Empire all teaching him different things.
"I'm always learning new techniques and I'm always learning different methods of applying those techniques. I train all aspect's of MMA at Millennia in Rancho Cucamonga. I work on my Jiu-Jitsu at 10th planet in Riverside and Corona. I train my striking with Joe Davidson at Red Dragon in Fontana," said Navarro.
Navarro hopes to open his own MMA gym after retiring, and to be able to pass his knowledge down to his future students. His advice for young fighters wanting to break into MMA is to have passion, patience, perseverance, and mental toughness for the sport because you will have good days and bad days.
Be prepared to fight in front of big crowds, and know that injury's do happen, but you have to fight through them and be safe he says.
This last fight was his 10th win in a row. "It feels awesome," said Navarro. "I feel like doors are beginning to open and I feel like opportunity is coming my way. I've always felt success is when perpetration meets opportunity so all I can do is be ready. I'm still young in this sport and I have along ways to go but I know I'm on the right path."
Navarro loves that his family is so supportive of what he does. His wife Mandy is at all of his fights cheering him on. "You can always hear her yell "Go, Iron Man' on my fight videos," said Navarro.
All of Navarro's fights have been in Southern California, with the exception of his third fight taking place in Mexico City. He hopes that as his career grows in this sport it will allow him to fight in other countries and see the world doing what he loves.
Navarro has submitted his name to match makers in bigger shows like in the UFC, Bellator, and WSOF and awaits to see what happens in the future.
His next fight will take place August 30th at Saboba Casino in San Jacinto, CA for Gladiator Challenge. For more information check out Navarro's Facebook page.