It’s not just the vivid pink hair that makes him stand out; when Sean “Shorty Rock” Santella (15-5-1, 1 NC) enters the cage, his fast-paced and technical fighting style demands the full attention of opponents and spectators alike. We expect to see nothing less from Sean in his upcoming CFFC title fight against Matt Lozano later this month. With his focus and determination stronger than ever, Shorty Rock is ready to prove once again why he is the #1-ranked flyweight in the Northeast. We had a few questions for the intrepid Santella regarding previous events, motivating figures in the combat sports scene, and his recommendations to those just starting out in the game.
Fighting Stance Media: This isn’t the first time you’ll be competing for a title. What have you learned from your former title fights?
Sean: I’ve learned a lot about myself in previous title fights. I’ve learned I can push through for 25 minutes, and even if I’m behind going into the fifth, I have the heart to gut it out.
FSM: Thinking back, which among all of your fights was your favorite? Why?
Sean: I’d have to say my favorite fight was against Dave Morgan. I had a lot of personal things going on in my life during camp and I was still able to mentally stay strong, push through, and get a finish. I always dreamed about choking someone out in a fight and I put him to sleep and got up, put both hands to the side of my face (as if I was sleeping) and fell to the mat. It was pretty awesome.
FSM: Do you have a favorite fighter who inspired you or influenced your journey as a martial artist?
Sean: I’m a home team kinda guy, so my two favorite fighters are Jim Miller and Frankie Edgar. I see the time and effort they put in and they give it their all every time they step in the cage. I’m taking a liking to Tony Ferguson as well. Love his style and mindset.
FSM: What is your favorite aspect of the fight game: The training and development of new skills? The bonds you form with other fighters and coaches? The fights themselves?
Sean: To be honest, I love all aspects of fighting, from testing your skills against someone else’s to the friendships you make to the blood, sweat, and tears. I put everything I have into fighting and it made me who I am. I wouldn’t ask for anything else!
FSM: With so many fights under your belt, do you have any words of wisdom for someone just getting started in MMA?
Sean: The advice I’d give someone just starting out in MMA would be to find a gym that has fighters their size and a training schedule that has fighter training. Also not to rush into a fight. It takes time and dedication. No need to rush until you’re ready.
As the head BJJ instructor at Miller Brothers MMA, “Professor Shorty Rock” also works hard to help others build confidence and excel in their martial arts journey. He’s sure to have plenty of students, fans, and fellow fighters cheering him on come December 17th. We look forward to an exciting and impressive performance from Sean as he gives it his all in the cage!