If you are a fan of Mixed Martial Arts and do not know the name Sam Oropeza, you are missing out. Sam Oropeza, or “Sammy O”, has been on a tear in his professional MMA career. Holding a professional record of 13 wins and 2 losses, Sammy O has never won a fight that went the distance. The reason for this? He has 13 finishes: seven by KO/TKO and six by submission. He is currently riding an eight-fight win streak, with his last six fights ending in a KO/TKO victory. Winning eight fights in a row is impressive no matter what level you are fighting at, not to mention that they have all been finishes. There is one thing that is missing in Sam’s professional career, though — an Ultimate Fighting Championship contract.

“As a kid I always wanted to be a Ninja Turtle, so I think that is where the whole MMA thing really comes from. When I was a kid my father passed away and it was really tough to get involved in sports without my dad. When I was a freshman in college, I found Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I fell in love with it right away. It had nothing to do with wanting to compete, but had everything to do with my happiness. It allowed me to shoot for goals. I decided to start doing tournaments and then I started winning them. I never really excelled at something like this and I started to do so and my mind was blown because I saw that I could do more and more. My first amateur fight was in 2008 and then it was just kind of the snowball effect.”

At 29 years old, the middleweight and aspiring Ninja Turtle fighting out of Team Balance Studios made a decision that some may question. Sammy O requested his release from Bellator, a promotion that he has been very successful with, to pursue his dream of a UFC contract.

“It comes down to this: wanting to make a dream come true. I really believe that God comes to us with visions and dreams. My dreams and visions have been becoming a world champion and fighting for the UFC. I want to be in the UFC. Bellator was great to me, but you get one chance in life. We have one window of opportunity and I believe this is mine.”

In a recent article with Sherdog.com, author C.J. Tuttle talked about Oropeza’s decision to request his release from Bellator to chase his UFC dreams. The article also discussed his upcoming fight, which he believed would help him get the contract he wants and many think he deserves. Sam had a fight scheduled with Timothy Woods in the “Global Proving Ground – Fighters Against Dog Fighting on January 17 2015. This was a huge risk for Oropeza because if anything crazy happened and he somehow lost his regional fight, he could almost kiss his UFC contract goodbye. That was not the thought process for Sammy O, though, as he believed in his abilities and did not let the fear of losing get to him.

“I call it the what-ifs. You can what-if everything in life. I could die at any time. There is a possibility of failure in everything you do in your life. Even if you play it safe, there is always a possibility that you could fail. People allow fear to control their life, but I do not. I can show you where my destination will be and I know I will get there. I have faith. What scares me the most is waking up with regret, but I know if I give it 100% every single day that I will get there.”

Oropeza won his fight that many saw as a fight that could only hurt him and not help him. Sam did not just win though; he won like Sammy O has been winning, by KO. The only problem? Still no UFC contract.

“I know I am taking a step in the right direction. I believe they will give me one and I believe I am on the UFC’s radar. When they do finally give me a contract I am going to be ready.”

A lot of people are asking what is next for Sammy O, but even more are asking what does this man need to do to get the UFC contract that he deserves? On Sunday January 25, Sammy O signed with one of the best promotions in the business for putting their fighters in the UFC: Cage Fury Fighting Championships. Oropeza posted his thoughts on his new promotion he will be fighting for on his Facebook page.

“Well, first off, CFFC has put many fighters from PA, NJ, and NY into the UFC this past year. They have a huge following and the UFC has taken notice. Plus, they have a big support system on social media, which helps big time. They run a great show and treat fighters great so really it is a no-brainer.”

CFFC has put a lot of fighters in the UFC and one of the more recent fighters, Paul Felder, is up for the KO of the year with the third ever spinning back fist KO in UFC history. The CFFC contract is not what Oropeza wants most, but he understands it is a step in the right direction. The CFFC allows their fighters to leave whenever the UFC calls, and that could be soon for Oropeza. Sammy O is not letting the wait of the UFC contract he dreams of get him down though.

“I talk about life a lot. Success is waking up and going to do what you love and that is what I do. I wake up excited and train. It is awesome and I have a passion for this sport. I love that I get to do this, but it does not control my life or dictate my happiness. If I have my health and I have my happiness, then life is great. Would the UFC improve my life? Yes, but at the end of the day if I can wake up, walk, and breathe on my own, I am having a great day. I have been through too many tough times to let it get me down.”

Sammy O will be fighting for the CFFC on May 9 at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa. He understands that he could get his call for the UFC at any time, and also that the call to the UFC will be an opportunity of a lifetime that he plans to make the most of.

“What the UFC contract is really going to do for me is give me an opportunity. I get to decide if I turn it into something great. I come from Delaware County and not many people have put stuff together so I want to show people that it is possible. The world is truly yours. It would give me the satisfaction that I started with a vision and a dream and got there. It would be my first massive goal I accomplish and it would all be due to my mother when it does happen. I watched her work hard and never quit. She got up day after day and worked her ass off. She showed me that if you want something, you have to be determined and you can’t give up. Every single day, I am going to take a step in that direction to get that UFC contract.”

About The Author

Jeremy Klump
Interview Coordinator / Video Manager

Jeremy Klump is a Sport Media major at Ithaca College and has been writing about Mixed Martial Arts for over a year now. He interned at MVC Sports Management and AMA Fight Club. While interning at MVC and AMA, Jeremy found out that he had a true passion for writing about Mixed Martial Arts. He has interviewed and wrote articles on top UFC fighters while also having knowledge of regional fighters and the top new comers. He looks to grow as a writer and expand his knowledge of Mixed Martial Arts while being a proud member of The MMA Corner team.