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LO's Gonzales eyes successful MMA career

The former LOHS wrestler prepares for his second career fight at the Roseland

Lake Oswego's Cahleb Gonzales won his first ever MMA fight and is training for his second next week.“I'm a pretty fast learner,” says Cahleb Gonzales, in what is perhaps a significant understatement.

The former Lake Oswego High School wrestler has a history of picking up sports quickly. As a high schooler, he didn't start wrestling until midway through his freshman year. By the time he was a senior, he finished third in state in his weight class.

Now, Gonzales is just starting a new venture, one that he hopes blossoms into a promising career. Gonzales has been training as a mixed martial artist and is preparing for his second fight, Aug. 22 at the Roseland Theater in Portland.

Gonzales hasn't been training long but he is soaking up all of the information that comes with the sport like a sponge.

“It's a little overwhelming just because there's so much to learn and I don't have many tools in my belt yet,” Gonzales said.

He has experience boxing in late elementary school and as a wrestler in high school.

“I also fought with my brother all the time growing up and that was the best experience I could have received,” Gonzales said with a laugh.

Before his father passed away, he told Gonzales that his fighting style reminded him of famous mixed martial artist Chuck Liddell and that he thought it could be a good sport for him.

“I just felt like, not only was it something I wanted to do, it was something I needed to do,” Gonzales said.

And he has taken to the sport quickly. Although he had been training, he hadn't actually stepped foot in a caged octagon arena until two hours before his first fight in April.

Leading up to that bout, he was nervous and jittery during introductions but, as soon as he stepped foot in the octagon, he was focused.

“It's a totally different experience (than wrestling). I just felt at peace and it was something I'd never experienced before,” Gonzales said.

He made quick work of his opponent, winning with a submission in less than two minutes.

Since then, Gonzales has trained nearly every day and he is determined to give the sport everything he has.

His ultimate goal is to fight in the UFC but he will need to wait until he is 21 to be considered.

“I think this is definitely a sport I can excel at and I'm devoting these next two years to achieving my goal,” Gonzales said.

His next fight will be Aug. 22 against Ignacio Mendez as part of the Full Contact Fighting Federation.


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