Joseph Sandoval: 'I Was Like a School Girl, Jumping on the Bed'
In order for an individual to one day become great, he or she must face and overcome the trials and hardships of life.
Joseph Sandoval (6-1) not only overcame adversity but came out not solely a better fighter, but a man as well.
In result, Sandoval is now fighting at the premier stage of mixed martial arts also known as the UFC, where he will take on Nick Denis (10-2) at UFC on FX on Jan. 20.
UFC on FX will take place at the Bridgestone Arena located in Nashville, Tenn. beginning at 6 p.m. PT and 9 p.m. ET.
In a recent interview with Bleacher Report's Garrett Derr, Sandoval discussed his journey to the UFC and how he came to make a profession out of it.
"I was just young at the time, coming up through middle school when I watched a UFC event with my grandfather for the very first time. I believe it was when Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock met for the second time, if I'm not mistaken," Sandoval said. "I kind of fell in love with it ever since that moment."
"My grandfather really got me into it and I eventually decided to go train with a small gym in Texas. We started working out and it didn't have the enthusiasm I was looking for at the time. Things happened in my life and my family went through a divorce. It was a difficult time for my brothers and sisters as we moved out of the area. From there, the rest is history," he said.
Sandoval was able to overcome the roadblocks in his life by winning the first six fights of his professional career.
Following his victory over Randy Hinds at Shark Fights 16, Sandoval's career would change forever.
"I was walking home from the gym when my manager called me and said there might be a promotion to the UFC," Sandoval said. "But, he told me it might be a one-fight deal. At first I said no, I don't want to be that guy who gets one fight and is done."
"My coach contacted me later and told me it was now a four-fight contract. At first I thought he was lying or pulling my leg. He confirmed it and I was ready to go right then and there. After they left I was like a school girl jumping on the bed. It was a dream come true," he said.
However, things didn't go as planned as Sandoval would be defeated by Walel Watson in the first-round of action at UFC Live: Cruz vs. Johnson.
"It was the first time I had ever been beaten. To be honest, it hurt my pride a little bit. It didn't kill me too much as I was back in the gym two weeks later. I think I could have kept going in that fight, but the credit goes to Walel, his game plan was perfect for me," he said.
Sandoval will get a second stab at his first UFC victory when he takes on Denis in just a few short hours at UFC on FX.
In order to be declared victorious, Sandoval will have to avoid Denis' knockout power as he's finished nine opponents by way of knockout over the course of his career.
"I feel that I have the advantage in boxing heading into things. I know his ground game and jiu-jitsu is solid. Hopefully he likes to stand up and bang so we can make it a great fight for the fans," Sandoval said. "I feed off the crowd, so hopefully things go my way."
"I'm always just going for the 'W'. I always want to keep the fight on my feet, but if it goes down, then it goes down. I'm fine with grounding and pounding and banging it out. I'll take a decision victory as well," Sandoval said.
Sandoval currently fights in the UFC's 135-pound weight division and has his entire career. However, with the addition of the flyweight division, fans shouldn't be surprised to see Sandoval making the transition to 125 pounds.
"Honestly, we've talked about dropping to 125. I know it's something I can definitely do and I know I can make it happen. But, you just don't know how you'll feel. I might experiment and see how I feel," Sandoval said. "If it works for me and I'm feeling good, then yes, I'll definitely drop down to the flyweights."
While Sandoval is certainly on an all-out search for his first Octagon victory, he's more concerned with being the best man he can be at all times.
Sandoval's performance inside the ring is simply just one part of his busy life as his main focus is making a difference in the lives of children and those in need.
"Of course I want to make it to the top, but my goals go past the Octagon. I just want to look out for my own children. I want to help kids and be there for them. I want to keep them out of the streets and I want to help others in need," Sandoval said.
"I don't want to hold everything for my family and I. I want to spread the wealth for others who are less fortunate."
For additional information, follow Garrett Derr on Twitter.
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