Massillon-based MMA fighter Antonio Castillo Jr. had three months to replicate on the course of his profession in the course of the coronavirus shutdown.

Taking a break by no means appeared like an choice for Massillon-based MMA fighter Antonio Castillo Jr. Day without work was a phrase not present in his vocabulary. A fighter fights.

So for 11 consecutive years, Castillo bounced from combat to combat. The burden class didn’t matter. Nor did the period of time to organize. He by no means broke camp, by no means stopped coaching.

That modified when the coronavirus pandemic started. Regional promotions canceled playing cards. Even the UFC went darkish for almost a month. Whether or not Castillo preferred it or not, day off had discovered him.

He tried to make one of the best of it — and not too long ago returned to coaching rejuvenated and with a brand new method.

“My spouse is my supervisor and she or he advised me that I wanted to embrace the chance to take day off,” Castillo mentioned. “She advised me the one factor that may destroy any fighter isn’t your physique or your abilities, it’s the psychological facet of your self being off. She advised me … I had been self sabotaging myself and that I used to be in my head an excessive amount of. That I wanted a break from the strain of the whole lot.”

Castillo’s spouse, Nichole Lengthy-Castillo, is a longtime matchmaker within the enterprise and has booked fights for among the greatest names within the sport over time. He determined to embrace her recommendation.

“I grew to become a daily individual the final three months,” Castillo mentioned. “I didn’t prepare. I didn’t take into consideration combating. I targeted on simply being a dad. My spouse and I redid our entire yard.”

The time to consider coaching resurfaced on the finish of Could and Castillo determined to make one other change. He determined to depart Core Explosion Health in Canton and return to a small, personal farm close to Tuslaw Excessive College.

His emphasis will probably be much less on instructing courses and giving personal classes and extra on getting ready for his personal fights.

“I had talked about instructing courses and being a personal coach as a fallback choice,” Castillo mentioned. “Throughout all of this my spouse advised me that I wasn’t organising the fallback choice, I used to be mainly dwelling the fallback choice. She advised me I used to be dwelling sooner or later however that I wasn’t accomplished with the current. That led me again to the farm.”

Castillo resumed coaching June 1. His subsequent purpose is to snap a seven-fight dropping streak and make it to the UFC or Bellator. Such a purpose shouldn’t be out of the realm of possiblity.

Huge title fighters reminiscent of Robbie Lawler, Jorge Masvidal and Andrei Arlovski endured robust stretches.

Lawler was an afterthought when the UFC bought Strikeforce. Lawler made his UFC debut in 2013 after dropping three of his earlier 4 fights. Lawler responded by shockingly successful eight out of 9 fights in a stretch and successful the UFC welterweight title. Masvidal went 4-Four from 2015 to 2017. Masvidal took a yr off and returned and went 3-Zero in 2019 and have become one of many prime field workplace attracts within the UFC within the course of. Arlovski dropped 4 fights in a row outdoors of the UFC from 2009 to 2011 earlier than rallying to go 6-1-1 to work his manner again into the UFC.

“Jorge Masvidal is a man I have a look at as an inspiration,” Castillo mentioned. “He was dropping shut fights and seemed to be on the best way out of a profession within the combat recreation. He took a yr off and did a TV present on Telemundo and mainly went off to the woods. He bought his thoughts proper and when he got here again, he began killing everyone. That’s what I hope this break brought on by the coronavirus does for me.”

Castillo additionally took some hints from Arlovski’s playbook. Throughout his skid, Arlovski famously talked to a sports activities psychologist to get himself again on monitor.

“I really talked to the sports activities psychologist that (former Bellator champion) Daniel Strauss and Nick Newell use on the telephone,” Castillo mentioned. “I’ve saved in contact with Nick after we fought and he advised me that the psychologist helped him out loads. UFC President Dana White mainly publicly advised Nick he didn’t assume he was ok to make it within the UFC due to his incapacity (Newell has just one hand) and he was having hassle coping with that.”

The psychologist has given Castillo some issues to consider each time his subsequent combat happens.

“He advised me after my social media that he felt I used to be placing psychological blocks in entrance of myself that don’t exist,” Castillo mentioned. “He advised me to cease specializing in ’comeback season’ and the strain that comes from being on a dropping streak. He bought me away from enthusiastic about that and it has actually rejuvenated me.”

Attain Cliff at [email protected]

On Twitter: @chickmanREP