After kicking off his 2018 with a first round submission of Anthony Zender at CageSport 49 in February, bantamweight Chris San Jose set himself up for a title match in his return to the promotion on May 5.
Facing late replacement Casey Johnson, San Jose was able to have a strong performance and outlast his opponent over all five rounds to pick up the win and the CageSport 135-pound championship.
“(Johnson) stepped in when my other opponent got injured on two weeks’ notice, but that guy was tough,” San Jose told MMAWeekly.com. “I knew going in he’d be tough and not somebody that’s going to quit or easily be submitted or knocked out and he really showed it all five rounds.
“My cardio was good and I got to showcase more of my skillset. It was good for me to be able to do that, and experience a 25-minute fight. There’s some things we need to work on, but it went well enough for me that I got the belt.”
While claiming his first pro title is a big step in San Jose’s career, the most important thing to him is his continued growth; both through training and by facing tough opposition.
“Right now it’s all about improving and getting good opponents who are tough and who are going to push me to improve every single fight,” said San Jose. “It’s all about growth and finding those guys who will challenge me to get better.
“A belt is nice to have and nice to win, but I’m hungry to get better opponents and keep moving up.”
When it comes to the second half of 2018, San Jose is looking forward to continuing to work his way up the ranks and getting that much closer to achieving his main goal.
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“We take it fight by fight,” San Jose said. “That’s how my coaches have always taught; to take it fight by fight. Ultimately I want to be at the highest stage of MMA, but short term I’m looking at the next fight.
“Right now we’re looking at what options are best. For me, I’m looking to rest a bit, then get back in the gym and go from there.”