Erick Gonzalez is gearing up for his seventh professional mixed martial arts (MMA) bout.

“The Ghost Pepper” will be in action this Thursday night (Feb. 16) at Combate Americas 11 in Burbank, California. His opponent is Danny Ramirez. UFC Fight Pass is airing the event live at 9 p.m. ET.

MMANews.com’s Tim Thompson recently caught up with Gonzalez. The hard-hitting lightweight said he is comfortable wherever the fight goes:

“ACTUALLY, I LOVE WATCHING TAPES. TAPES LET ME STUDY MY OPPONENT A LOT AS FAR AS WHAT HE LIKES TO DO, WHAT DOES HE PREFER. A LOT OF THE TAPES THAT I’VE WATCHED (SHOW) HE’S A WRESTLER AND HE DEFINITELY LIKES TO TAKE IT TO THE GROUND. HE LIKES TO TIE UP A LOT, DIRTY BOX. I HAVE NO PROBLEM FIGHTING IN ANY OF THOSE CONDITIONS. I STARTED OFF (WITH) WRESTLING AS MY BASE, SO WRESTLING IS NOTHING NEW TO ME. WHEN IT COMES TO THE STRIKING, I THINK THE STRIKING I’M GONNA HAVE THAT. I’M NOT TOO WORRIED IF IT GOES TO THE FLOOR. MY (JIU-JITSU) GAME HAS GOTTEN A LOT BETTER OVER THE PAST THREE YEARS THANKS TO SYSTEMS TRAINING CENTER.”

Ramirez has never been finished in a professional bout, but that won’t prevent Gonzalez from trying. He believes he’ll be the first man to stop “The Realist.”

“I BELIEVE I’LL BE ABLE TO TAKE HIM OUT BY THE SECOND ROUND. MY GUESS WILL BE IT’LL BE A TKO. I DON’T LIKE TO GO TO THE JUDGES. I’VE ONLY HAD ONE FIGHT ON MY PRO RECORD THAT’S GONE TO A DECISION. I WAS HOPING THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN, BUT IT IS PART OF THE GAME AND SOMETIMES IT GOES TO A DECISION. BUT I BELIEVE I CAN TAKE HIM OUT WITH A TKO.”

At the age of 25, “The Ghost Pepper” realizes there is plenty of time to improve. He said the changes he’s made has helped him avoid unwanted pressure.

“I WOULDN’T SAY IT’S A CRAZY AMOUNT OF PRESSURE GOING INTO THIS JUST BECAUSE THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF IMPROVEMENTS IN MY GAME. I’VE BEEN ABLE TO WORK ON THOSE LITTLE KICKS AND WORKING (ON) THE SMALL LITTLE AREAS. BECAUSE OF EVERY FIGHT, IT’S ALLOWED ME TO BE ABLE TO WORK ON THOSE SLIPS IN MY GAME. AS FAR AS MY GAME PLAN OR THE PRESSURE, I BELIEVE THAT IT’S NOT GONNA BE TOO MUCH PRESSURE. IT’S GONNA BE LIKE EVERY OTHER FIGHT.”

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