CFFC 61 is a few weeks away and we here at ArtofMMA.com couldn’t be more excited for this huge card that features 2 title fights and a packed night of what could be #1 contenders! It all goes down on Oct 29th live from the Borgata in Atlantic City! Last month we heard from CFFC Heavyweight Champ Zu Anyanwu about this upcoming title defense, well today we got the chance to speak with his challenger in 2-0 Joe Pinto! We have had the chance to speak to Joe in the past but now he has got what he has been calling for on social media, a title shot at Zu’s strap. If you want to get caught up on the social media frenzy these two have started make sure to follow Joe on Facebook and Twitter @joepinto205. Ok, here we go!
Hey Joe, Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us here at Artofmma.com, we really appreciate it with how busy you are getting ready for the 29th. Talk to us about what got you into the world of MMA and if you weren’t a pro fighter what do you feel you would be doing with your life right now?
Pinto: I found out about a friend of mine fighting and I asked him a shit load of questions about it because I had watched a few UFC events but had no idea there were promotions here in NJ that held MMA events, so I started training BJJ at about age 34 and had my first amateur fight at 38. My life would probably be the same except I wouldn’t be in as light as I am now, I was 265Lbs when I started bjj.
Nice man and congrats on all weight lost! Now you’re fairly new to the professional MMA scene in that this is just your third time in the pro cage. Talk to us about what our readers should expect to see from you in the cage, your fighting style and what separates you from other fighters out there?
Pinto: It won’t be a boring fight that’s for sure. I don’t want to go to a decision that’s for sure but as for what I’m gonna do in there, I’m not getting into specifics but there is definitely a game plan.
I know I can’t wait for this fight, there is so much build up and both of you guys are straight savages. Now speaking of it just being your third pro fight, you are sitting at a perfect 2-0 and won both by TKO due to strikes. You were also an undefeated AMMY fighter (3-0). Talk to us about what it feels like to get that TKO win like you have and what sort of emotions did you go through after you beat Darren Costa in your CFFC and pro debut?
Pinto: Not that it means anything but I was 4-0 as an AMMY and my last 3 fights were all 2nd rd TKO’s. It’s a great feeling to finish your opponent but there’s also a feeling of relief, that all the work you and your coaches and teammates have put into you paid off. The Darren Costa win was huge for me because I had tore my bicep 100% 1 week out from the fight. I actually had the surgery scheduled for the Wednesday after the fight so yeah, that win was huge for me.
Oh wow! I had heard of an injury but didn’t know it was a 100% tear, that’s insane man! Most people wouldn’t want to do anything much less get in a fight, insane! Now speaking of the CFFC, it is well know they are one of our favorite promotions, talk to us about what keeps you there, why you choose to go there and how is it working for people like Rob Haydak, Arias Garcia Jr and Devon Mathiesen?
Pinto: I think it’s a great promotion with a lot of talent and they have it at the Borgata which is nice because you show up Thurs or Friday, park your car and you don’t really need to drive anywhere until you leave after the fight.
Yeah, the Borgata is awesome and it is off the strip so you’re kinda isolated out there. Ok, let’s get right to it. CFFC 61 on OCT 29th at the Borgata, you are in the main event versus the Heavyweight Champ, Zu Anyanwu who is also known for his KO power. This fight has seemed to become a grudge match on social media. Do you see it like that as you two have had some back and forth online? What do you see in the champ and what made you want this fight so bad outside of him being the champ?
Pinto: It’s not a grudge match for me at all. I picked him because he has the title in the division I wanted to fight in. I had a hard time making weight for my last fight and I wanted to have at least one fight where I could walk into the cage at the same weight I was training at. So i reached out to Zu a while ago and told him I was going to ask Arias and Rob for the fight and he said he didn’t see a problem with it as long as he didn’t get picked up by the UFC. When I found out he wasn’t getting picked up by them I started pushing for the fight and everyone liked the fight at the time except Zu. I started getting ready to start camp and now he saying that I don’t deserve it etc. After talking to CFFC, I was told that maybe if I called him out he would accept the fight. Now anyone that knows me knows that that’s not something I would normally do but I was set on making this fight happen at this point so it was the only thing left to do to make this fight happen so I did it in a respectful way. As for Zu, I don’t know the guy. I have nothing against the guy even though he has exaggerated the truth once or twice while talking about me, but it doesn’t bother me at all. He’s talking up the fight while trying to make me look like the bad guy.
Joe the heel, I like it! Zu told us in our interview with him that you had been tagging in on social media and somehow got his number and inboxed him even though you aren’t friends through Facebook hahaha. Any response to that and just how badly did/do you want this fight?
Pinto: Glad you asked this because this is one of the small lies he has told about me. I did message him on Facebook like I said in the last question but he said I was texting him and didn’t know how I got his number and he made it sound like I was reaching out to him everyday. That simply was not the case. I never reached out to him except for FB messenger and I don’t have his cell number and I never text him. He made it sound like I was texting and messaging him every minute of every day in a video he posted on Facebook.
Glad we could get your side out! I do think that this social media has really pumped this fight up on this huge card for those that are keen to the CFFC though. Now you are usually a 205’er and are moving up to face off for a strap after only two fights, are there any nerves about moving weight classes and facing the best that division has to offer?
Pinto: No more than I’ve ever had in any other fight, I actually feel better now because I get to fight without a weight cut which for me is a plus. I’ll be lighter than him but I can eat as much as I want as long as it’s healthy and it’s working out great so far. He doesn’t scare me at all, I train with pro’s that are heavier than him and I don’t have a problem with their weight or strength so I’m not worried.
Must be nice to actually eat haha. Now you are both standup fighters but we know you have a very good ground game being a member of the Miller Brothers gym, and have a history with one of my favorite people in MMA, Sean “Shorty Rock” Santella, you also run with Paul Carnicella. How do you feel this fight going and what do you feel you need to accomplish in order to get your hand raised at the end?
Pinto: My last camp I did train at both Miller Bros and Carnicella MMA. Jim and Dan are great guys and their trainers especially Sean “Shorty Rock” Santella. He’s been in my corner all my fights except one but the bottom line is that it is far for me and I cant go there everyday. I still pop in and train once and a while but this camp I’m letting Paul Carnicella run. All I have to do is show up and he tells me what to. It’s a first for me, just letting someone plan my camp completely. If you trust your coach then it’s a big load off my back trying to plan and get guys my size for sparing days or shark tank days, he does it all and does it well. As for my ground game it is good and is based mostly for MMA.
Nice man, great group of people there and this should be exciting with the new way you are going in to this fight! Speaking of Carnicella MMA, talk to us about what drew you there, what sets it apart from other gyms and are there any fighters we need to keep a look out for in the future?
Pinto: Well, I’ve trained with him back when I first started at Edson Carvalhos and I’ve always knew him but when he first opened his school he didn’t have any big guys that fought that I could train with. I’ve been with him now for quite a while but he has grown a lot and the group of fighters that he had built up is nothing short of amazing in such a short time. He has a lot of up and comers like O’brayan Ramirez, Franky Buenafuente, Wendell Sneed, Jennifer Lopez and there’s a lot more but all in all its an awesome gym.
WAIT HOLD UP THEY GOT JLO!!!! Lol, now that is a great group of people there. Did a little research with the names I saw and wow! Ok, we know your time is short so final question. I have been lucky enough to see you live and your fan base is CRAZY!!!!! They go nuts for you every time you land a punch, what do your fans mean to you and if you could say one thing to them what would it be?
Pinto: First off, I’ve never referred to them as fans because their all friends and family.
I’d just like to thank them for all the support throughout my short MMA career and that every fight might be my last so make sure you get your tickets and come out on October 29th and watch my fight for the title.
Crap I did that last time too and I knew you referred to them as family and friend but yeah they are awesome, love sitting near that group! Ok, well we wish you the best of luck on the 29th! Before we let you go are there any people or sponsors you would like to mention?
Pinto: I’d like to thank Paul Carnicella (@CarnicellaMMA) for just being an Ace at what he does and also like to thank all his students, training partners and fighters he brings in specifically for my camps. Also, Parabolic for all the work they’ve put into me from rehabbing injuries and getting me ready as for as strength and conditioning goes. Thanks to all there staff there, they are an awesome group of people that know there field well. The last two are all about recovery. Huge thanks to Dr Cerretto (ARP Specialist) in Nutley, NJ for keeping all my camp injuries a nonissue. His ARP machine is amazing at fixing and getting me back in there for another training session. Also, Elite Total Body Cryo Therapy in Wayne NJ which I visit every day during my camp. It helps me recover a lot faster than usual so an old fart like me makes it thru a camp.
Thanks to everyone and anyone who has helped me through this camp. The last one is the most important to me, my wife, she’s always supported me, she cooks all my meals, keeps everything in check when I’m grinding thru a fight camp. I wouldn’t have the success I’ve had if it wasn’t for her. Thanks to you Erik for the interview also.
There you have it, JOE PINTO. Make sure to follow him via social media and either get yourself to the Borgata on the 29th IT’S GOING DOWN!!!!! Make sure to also follow him on social media! Next up is one of the heads of the CFFC Arias Garcia in prep of this huge card!