Billy “The Kid” Gonzalez
Very few people can say they have accomplished much by the time they reach their early 20’s, but Billy ‘The Kid’ Gonzalez has battled adversity growing up, fought professionally in MMA, is a personal trainer and a business owner, and he is only 22 years old. Billy currently trains out of Evolution Mixed Martial Arts, located in west Kendall and is looking to return to the cage sometime in Spring 2012.
Billy shares his thoughts on the direction that Mixed Martial Arts in South Florida is headed, what he thinks of CFA (Championship Fighting Alliance) and he talks about his most famous client, musical entertainer – Pitbull. Billy also talks about his fitness program, with Pitbull, ‘Billy The Kids’ ‘Get Fit With Pit Youth Fitness Program’ to raise awareness of childhood obesity. Billy took a moment out of his busy schedule to sit down with MMA Owl.
Billy the Kid Gonzalez – tell me a little bit about yourself
I just turned 22 yesterday, so I’m still real young and I’ve been through a lot of stuff in my life. I started fighting when I was real young. My dad was a boxer and he raised me into boxing. I started boxing in amateur fights and started competing going from boxing to Tae Kwon Do point fighting. I never really got into the whole mixed martial arts thing till I was about 15 or 16 years old. A friend of mine took me took me under his wing and wanted me to start teaching kickboxing at his gym in the Grove. So little by little, I started teaching kickboxing classes and I started working as a personal trainer, teaching what I love to do, getting paid to do exactly what I love to do. I had fun and it was something I’d like to do long term. My friend always had the gym in the Grove but it always wasn’t established as it is now. There wasn’t an MMA program, it was just more personal training, just his clients and I worked for him. We worked and we started setting up the back gym by putting down the kickboxing bags and the mats. So little by little, we started creating an all out mma gym with functional training and weight lifting and all different kinds of rehab. My youngest clients have been five or six years old and my oldest client has been 94 if I’m not mistaken. I’m really happy where I’m at in Coconut Grove, it’s really working out for me and my friend Nathan. Things are going really well.
Tell me a little bit about Nathan
Nathan Van Dusen is like a brother to me. I don’t know what I would do without him. He kept me out of trouble growing up and he took me under his wing. He’s always looked out for me and he’s a really great guy with a ton of experience in the fitness world. He’s worked for UM, he’s worked for Doctor’s Hospital, and with the Heat. He’s worked with a lot of professional athletes that are really big stars now like Ray Lewis, Frank Gore, Edgerrin James, he’s done a lot and he’s shown me a lot which I’m very grateful for and I really appreciate him as a friend.
My grandfather passed away when I was really young and I never really knew him. But the closest person I ever had to a grandfather, his name was Pepe. My real name is William but my nickname is Billy. Everybody, even my mom and dad have called me Billy way back since I can remember. Pepe used to always tell me stories of Billy The Kid, the western days, the bank robbing, the outlaw and how he was young and reckless all the time. And I don’t know, I kind of liked it, it fit my character, and so, Billy The Kid, that’s who I am.
You have fought professionally in MMA… How many fights have you had?
Professionally, I’ve had two. Amateur, I’ve had over 15 amateur boxing matches. As far as the professional fighting goes, I took a little break. I haven’t been fighting so much and haven’t been focused on that. I’ve been traveling a lot and really working, going hard with the gym establishing myself at my gym first, before I wanted to get serious with the fighting. Now that I have my gym set up and now that I just came back from tour with Pit, we were on euphoria tour for six weeks with Enrique Iglesias, Prince Royce. So now my focus is to get serious with what I really want to do, and that is to become champion.
You are ‘Pitbull’s’ personal trainer…
Yes, I am very fortunate to be his trainer and his friend. He’s been very good to me like Nathan. He’s shown me a lot of things and I’ve learned a tremendous amount with him on the road. From different experiences that we’ve talked about, been through and advice he’s given me as a person and as a business person as well. I met Pit through one of my best friends, ‘Uly’ and they grew up together, they went to school back in the day. Pit one day, says, yo I want to start training and Uly ended up bringing him over to my gym. He came one time and he was hooked, and we’ve good friends ever since. We just got back from touring a couple of months ago. We were on the ‘Euphoria’ Tour for six weeks and we went all over the United States. I’m very blessed to have that experience. He (Pitbull) looks out for me and he’s always trying to help me out in any way he possibly can. I’m very grateful for that. Another thing is we don’t train as often we should, obviously because he’s a superstar and he’s traveling here in Asia today, Dubai the next day, he’s all over the place. It’s tough to get him on a consistent schedule. But whenever he is in town, he is very disciplined at what he does. He does eat very well and he trains hard. He doesn’t make excuses for himself. I like to use him as a reference to people who say, oh I don’t have any time (to workout). I can’t do this, I can’t do that, because he’s ‘Mr. 305’ he’s one of the busiest people in the entire world and he ends up making time to train. He’s a great guy and I’m really happy to have him as a friend.
You mentioned that you’re putting together a program for obese kids…
Yes, me and Pitbull, we’re trying to start a nonprofit organization to raise awareness for childhood obesity. To target the younger kids that are a little bit more naïve and really don’t understand how it is to maintain yourself and the importance of not abusing food and eating healthy. We have a guy we work with the charter schools that Pit’s involved with. It’s not set in stone yet but we are trying to put something together for raising awareness of childhood obesity and that’s something that would be good for the community and a good way to give back to the kids. If we can help anybody in anyway change their lives, it’s always a great thing.
South Florida MMA, the direction it’s been going in the past few years and in the future? What do you think? Are we headed in the right direction?
I think that we are. I think that there are some organizations that are coming out now that are definitely setting themselves apart from other organizations such as CFA. I believe CFA, right now is probably one of the best organizations in South Florida that a fighter can fight for because they are the most organized local show. Now when you start talking Bellator, it is more national so they’re organized as well, but on a different level. As far as South Florida is concerned, they do have a bunch of different organizations and they are taking it the right way. They’re definitely trying to help fighters with tournaments and definitely putting some good fights together. I have seen a couple of good guys that I’ve always wanted to see fight each other, and they’ve ended up fighting each other. It’s pretty cool, I think they’re going in the right direction, they need to keep it up, keep that ball moving, keep it rolling.
We’re talking about the direction South Florida has been going recently and in the future, what do you think we need to get more people to come out to this events?
In Miami, people kind of have the wrong idea. They don’t show the support that they should for their local guys. If you don’t have a big name like Jon Bones Jones or Anderson Silva, guys at these high, high levels, people just don’t show the support. That’s one of the big things about Miami, that people have to understand, a lot of these professional fighters that are fighting these local shows, are laying everything on the line for really not that much money. Sometimes people just have to show a little bit more support. My opinion, the most important thing is marketing. You can have the best fighter in world have a gym in Miami and nobody’s gonna know that he’s there without the right marketing. With the right marketing, we open up their eyes a little bit and see the talent that’s right here in our own back yard. Just because they are not fighting in the UFC yet, doesn’t mean they won’t be the next champion. That’s how I feel and where I stand on that.
Right now, I’m training out of Evolution MMA which is down in Kendall. I’m fighting out of there and been training with those guys at Evolution for probably for a little bit less than a year . Before, I was training with Kedric Fink, a five time Muay Thai champion, he’s like a legend to me. He’s helped me tremendously with my stand up and I really appreciate everything he’s ever done for me. He has his own gym, so he’s been a little busy with his program and his own school so I haven’t been able to shoot over there to train with him in a while. I got nothing but good things to say about Kedric. Alexis Vila, which you know is a Bellator contender, is my wrestling coach. He’s helped me the same way Kedric has with my wrestling. He’s been nothing but good to me and has shown me a lot of cool things. I’m really grateful for the both of those guys and especially Dan too. Dan has always looked out for me and I feel like I have a good camp behind me and I feel very comfortable. I’ve trained at a couple different gyms and I haven’t always felt comfortable where I’m at. The guys at Evolution and Kedric and Alexis, there’s no ego there. Everybody’s just super cool and we love to train and we train hard. Nobody has anything to prove to anybody. We train hard and we’re friends and I feel comfortable there. I’m really happy with who I have behind me.
Billy ‘The Kid’ Gonzalez, along with business partner, Nathan Van Dusen, M.S. Ed operate ‘Lift Miami’ Private Fitness Center located in the heart of Coconut Grove on 2663 Tigertail Avenue.
For further information: click here http://www.tigertailmma.com/ – ‘Lift Miami’ homepage. You can also follow Billy ‘The Kid’ Gonzalez on his journey back to the cage on Twitter @billyTHEKIDgonz and on Facebook.
Story By: mmaowl.com