Following a few years of honing his skills on the amateur circuit, flyweight Braden Pagaoa made his pro debut at LFA 105 on April 23 and couldn’t have hoped for a better start to his career.
In just 12 seconds, Pagaoa picked up a TKO victory over Josh Islas to kick off his pro career in style.
“I’ve been away for about two years, not from the sport entirely, I’ve been training and preparing for that moment for two years, we weren’t able to get a fight,” Pagaoa told MMAWeekly.com.
“Just being there, being on a bigger stage now, things are really professional; it was my first time being flown away for a fight. Yeah the nerves hit me hard, but once I got in there it felt like home. It felt like that’s where I was supposed to be. It was just like another day at the office, and I went out and handled business as such.”
For Pagaoa, the quick win came as the result to listening to his corner. Whether it’s in a fighter or training, as long as he’s acting on what his team is telling him, Pagaoa feels like things work out.
“For me it’s whatever my coach tells me to do, I do it,” said Pagaoa. “He’s never lead me down the wrong path.
“Actually moments before the fight started, as they were announcing me, he said he’d see me in about a minute, and I went out and did exactly what he told me to do and that was a wrap. I do what my coaches tell me to do in the gym and it pays off.”
In addition to his coaching, Pagaoa feels like the room of teammates he finds himself in every day is more than enough to motivate him to become the best fighter he can be.
“I’m in a big pond with big fish and you’ve got to learn to survive going amongst those guys,” Pagaoa said. “We’ve got Joseph Benavidez, Gustavo Lopez, just to name a couple guys.
“We’ve got all sharks. If you’re not on you’re a-game those guys will eat you alive. Just being there every day I’m growing. In a month I’ll be a different fighter than I am now.”
While Pagaoa has a sense of where he’d like to take his career in 2021, he’s going to approach things one step at a time for now.
“I have an overall idea, but it is one fight at a time,” said Pagaoa. “I can’t look past anything.
“I want to take all my fights as they come and keep knocking me out until they can’t deny me. If I’ve got to go 10-0, 15-0, until I get eyes on me, then so be it. I’ll just keep knocking them down.”