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Rite of Passage 5 - Danny Salinas

Despite having a fight record that spans some twelve years, Danny Salinas (12-10) is an easy fighter to overlook. At Rite of Passage 5, Salinas steps into the cage to face probably his toughest challenge to date in Derrick Krantz (22-10). Krantz is a well-known regional fighter who has held the Legacy fighting championship and Legacy Fighting Alliance welterweight belts and is a dangerous opponent. Both fighters have been competing for a similar amount of time, and both are wily veterans.

Salinas became involved in martial arts through an unconventional avenue;

“I started because of a stupid video game <laughs>. I would play Tekken with my brother. We wanted to look like that. We thought we would end up like Bruce Lee or the Matrix. Of course, it isn’t like that in real life, but that’s what we thought. I carried on with it and he moved on to other things.”

With a fight record that has him with some twelve wins and ten losses. Nine of his wins were coming by finish. With five stoppages and four submissions to his name, Salinas has the ability to finish a fighter on his feet or on the ground. The last few years have seen him fight infrequently. With one fight in both 2016 and 2017 respectively, and two in 2015, Salinas is on a four-fight losing streak. As happens to many fighters as they mature, life circumstances made it hard for the thirty-six year old Texan to train and compete as he would have liked;

“I had a lot of personal issues in that time. I have now separated from my marriage. I still have father duties, but it’s easier to train now and I don’t have things holding me back. I don’t want to speak ill, but I didn’t have support. I was fighting on the side, and it would be hard to train consistently. It was very stressful and that takes a toll. Now that’s in the past and I can put my heart into training and fighting.”

Salinas started training karate as the first step of his MMA journey. An art he hasn’t turned his back on, and has in fact looked to optimize for the MMA cage;

“I started with Goju-Ryu (an Okinawan style of karate which features hard and soft techniques). I still pursue it. In fact I go out to train with Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (UFC fighter) and his dad Ray Thompson.”

A lot of fighters coming from the South Texas region have a strong background in training boxing, Salinas is no exception;

“After that I got into boxing. Edinburg, where I come from, is 90% Hispanic so there is a lot of that. My first coach was Sonny Rodriguez. I now train with Joe Benavidez three or four times a week. I train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu every day and work wrestling and Muay Thai two to three times a week. I’m doing more training than I was before and not having the stress has been a real benefit.”

Salinas works as a personal trainer so fits between training others, doing his own training and also has duties as a father. With the ability to train properly and a different mental game, Salinas feels in the best position to fight that he has in years;

“I feel I’m coming in different. I feel mentally all there like I did five years ago. I have a clear mind; my weight cut is going well. I’ve suffered injuries in the past, but it’s been ok at the moment.”

Despite being in a good place psychologically and physically, Salinas isn’t taking his opponent likely. For his first fight in seventeen months, the tough Texan hasn’t chosen an easy opponent to face;

“He’s a tough guy to fight. He’s really good. I’ve known about him for a while, but haven’t seen him. I have to fight the perfect fight for sure.”

Working all the aspects of Mixed Martial Arts is something fighters have to do, and after years of doing so, fighters develop diverse skill sets;

“I’m pretty well rounded but I prefer to stand. I’m like Chuck Liddell in that I like to go for the knock out. I like to knock people out, but you can’t always do that. I like it to be a kickboxing fight but it doesn’t always go like that. I like to stand and bang but I can finish it on the ground.”

At thirty-six, one wonders how long the reinvigorated Salinas hopes to fight. In fact he wants to fight with a greater frequency than he has done;

“I want to keep doing this until my wheels fall off. I want to do it until I can’t and leave no stone unturned.

“I’d like to thank the promoters, my coaches for their time and sponsors. Thanks to everyone who has given me their time. I want to give special thanks to Protein Shot, 5x5 Brewery, Texas Junglez and Good Times Smoke Shop. Also thanks to my manager Mike Hale and my meal prep sponsor, The Right Meal.”

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