TXMMA – Texas Mixed Martial Arts

UFC 146 – Breaking down the biggest fight of Daniel Pineda’s career; former WEC champ holds keys to his UFC future

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

HOUSTON, TX, May 23, 2012 – Somewhere on the streets of Las Vegas at this very moment, Houston-based UFC fighter Daniel Pineda is probably walking around with a cool smile on his face. Always so calm and collected, you’d probably never be able to tell that he’s waiting out the last few days before the fight of his life but that is in fact the case.

Daniel will be taking on former WEC champ Mike Brown in the opening bout of the evening this Saturday at UFC 146. The bout will be televised on Facebook right around 6:45 EST / 5:45 here in Texas.

Much has been said, reported, and written about concerning Daniel’s rise to prominence on the local MMA scene here in Texas prior to making it into the UFC.

Let’s go over some of these facts briefly.


Some Quick Facts about Daniel “The Pit” Pineda


► A former high school, Daniel took up MMA at the behest of his brother Jose Santibanez. He originally never intended to fight but did so at the urging of his coaches.

► Daniel was born in Dallas but currently fights out of Houston’s 4OZ Fight Club under Bob Perez, Jeremy Mahon, and Renan Chavez. He started his MMA career as a Houstonian in 2007.

► He started his career with a bang, going 8-2. Then he went on a nightmarish 4-fight losing streak in 2009 right after a big win over current fellow UFC fighter Johnny Bedford.

► Daniel really started to hit his stride after debuting for Houston-based Legacy FC in July 2010.  He went 5-0 in the organization and won 2 title belts (145/155) while beating 3 champions overall in his tenure.

► He moved up to the UFC in early 2012 and has started his year, and UFC career, off with a bang with two first-round submission wins over Pat Schilling and Mackens Semerzier – both fights he took on short notice for the organization.


The biggest fight of Daniel Pineda’s career; Brown holds the keys to his future


Mike Brown | photo: UFC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Back to the task at hand, there is no mistaking that Mike Brown is going to be the biggest challenge of Daniel’s five-year MMA career. Many would argue that the 36 year old ATT rep’s best days are behind him but he’s still dangerous enough to pose a threat to any fighter in front him, especially one with only 2 UFC appearances to compare to the WEC title he earned by beating Urijah Faber just three short years ago.

As a fighter, Mike Brown is known as a physical specimen in the 145 lbs. weight class. He’s actually competed at lightweight and featherweight throughout his career, taking on the likes of Joe Lauzon, Genki Sudo, José Aldo, and more along the way.

A former high school state wrestling champion in Maine, Brown has long been known for his grappling and possesses a BJJ black belt as well – courtesy of Ricardo Liborio at American Top Team. Did we mention he’s reputed for being able to hit people pretty hard too?

Yep, he’s a pretty well-rounded fighter. You don’t get to the top of the mountain like he has without understanding the multiple facets that make up mixed martial arts.

Brown was dominant for a three year stretch from 2006-2009 but has been up-and-down in more recent times, losing 4 out of his last 7. He is coming off a win though over Nam Phan at UFC 133 heading into this bout so there’s the threat of a continued resurgence at the expense of the Houstonian should he pick up a win in this bout.

As is stands looking at this bout, Mike Brown is the penultimate gatekeeper in this bout for Pineda. Not so much in the sense of him being a journeyman or a fighter without his own potential to rise back up in the sport but more so that he’s guarding the doorway to the room where Daniel hopes to spend the rest of his near future.

In short, Mike Brown holds the keys to Daniel Pineda’s near-term future as a UFC fighter.

Lose and be stuck in the prelims until he can climb back up with a few more wins.

…But win and he may find himself just one or two fights away from a title shot.

A win this Saturday would mean Daniel will no longer be fighting the Schillings and Sermeziers of this world on short-notice. Instead he would be put in high-profile main card fights against the likes of “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung or fighters like him from here on out.

Big fights. Exciting fights. Money-earning fights. Big, exciting, money-earning fights.

That’s exactly what Pineda wants for himself five years after starting his career and only the former WEC champ is standing in his way.

As a wise man named “Nature Boy” Ric Flair once said, “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man.” And that’s exactly what Daniel is aiming to do this weekend,

Does he think he can do it? You don’t even need to ask. Just look at the calm cool smile on his face.