Roberto Sanchez gave up everything to pursue his MMA career and so far, so good.
Smart decisions started early for Sanchez. At just 19 years old he was offered his first fight, but his older brother who was also his trainer that told him he was nowhere near ready. He could have tried his luck, but he listened and instead took his first amateur MMA fight when he was 26. Sanchez says as an amateur he opted for quality opponents over a quantity of opponents.
“First time I took an amateur fight was when I was 26, so I took my time and went in there when I was ready to win and not just win and lose some,” Sanchez told The Fight House. “I was also in college when I was an amateur, so I was only doing about one fight a year, just looking to improve. Instead fo fighting three nobodies I would just fight the better guy they had. My second amateur fight I had I won the amateur bantamweight belt. I was fighting tough guys even though I wasn’t fighting a lot.”
As an amateur Sanchez went 3-1 with his only loss coming by way of split decision. Even with his amateur success he still wasn’t completely devoted to MMA. The college graduate was in a good place in life. Sanchez says it was his wife who ultimately pushed him to quit his job and pursue MMA full time.
“I graduated college, I was married, I had a house and I had saved up a bunch of money. My wife said ‘We have money, why don’t you quit your job and pursue it full time. You know you want to. You know you’re good, you’re talented, you’re going to regret it if you don’t do it.’ That was about two years ago in 2015 and I went pro and have been winning since then,” Sanchez said. “I’m trying to see how far I can take it.”
Sanchez has rang off five wins in a row to start his MMA career. He wants to fight at least three times this year and hopes to get the attention of the UFC, but first he has to take care of business at LFA 7 against Klayton Mai. Klayton Mai is a Legacy and Bellator veteran who holds an 8-2 record and it is in those two losses where Sanchez finds some of his confidence.
“There is a little bit, knowing that he has been submitted, but just knowing that he has some losses says a lot too,” Sanchez said. “Some of the other opponents I have gone against were undefeated, even though they have smaller records like 2-0, 3-0 sometimes they seem more dangerous because you don’t know what their weakness is. It is good to know he has two submission losses, so I know it might be one of his weaknesses.”
At the end of the day though, Sanchez knows he is in for a fight. He admits that Mai took his last fight on short notice and the tape may not be an accurate representation of his skills. To make sure he is properly prepared Sanchez says he is preparing for anything he might see on fight night.
“I don’t know what his game plan is. I know his last fight he took on short notice, so just watching his videos might not be his normal fighting style,” Sanchez said. “I am just getting ready for whatever he has. I have trained with training partners who have sparred a more aggressive style, more passive style, I try to use my range, wrestling, whatever he has to offer I am training for that.”
Sanchez and Mai meet Friday at LFA 7 in Houston, Texas at the Arena Theatre. You can watch it live on AXS.tv at 9 pm