As it should, the progression of Ace Fighting Championship’s Eric Sandy’s amateur mixed martial arts career continues to rise.
At the mere age of 23, the welterweight has collected seven amateur outings with four victories. And as the fights continue to come, so does the level of competition. Sandy’s pinnacle test at the grassroots level awaits him on Nov. 11 at Nashville North when he drops down to 155 pounds to contest promotion champion Adam DeFreitas for the lightweight strap. But this definitive step is a reminder of progression for Sandy who understands his fights will not continue to get easier, but much harder.
“Training for my last fight was the hardest I’d ever done,” said Sandy about his previous Ace performance in April 2016. “There comes a time when you really have to decide if you’re in this sport or you are kind of doing it for fun. I’m not getting easy fights anymore and I have to be 100% in it.”
This realization is what channels the pathways for the martial artists looking for a greater meaning in their careers and those who only come to say they’ve brawled. For Sandy, a former resident of Christian Island – in the beginning stages of his career the latter was all too true. He began his knack for boxing in casual sessions on a punching bag but it wasn’t until the School of Hardknocks prospect left the island that he streamlined into serious MMA training.
“I was the one guy who actually took it seriously,” said Sandy. “I didn’t branch out into MMA until I was able to move off of the island. Growing up down there, there wasn’t really much opportunity to learn how to properly train. So as soon as I moved to town I joined a gym and just went from there.”
Sandy drew first blood competitively at 16 years of age managing high school and eight long weeks of training camp. He emerged from the bout 40 seconds later victorious and continued forth with that momentum. The ‘Sandman’ believes his seven long years of training complied alongside active competition can steer him to success against champion DeFreitas. He especially considers such thanks to the hard road he has endured against stiff competition to get here.
“At the last event I did see him fight. He is phenomenal on the ground. But obviously there are so worries there,” said Sandy about 155-pound champion Adam DeFrietas. “But every fight, I look to fight the fight. We are going in there and only one man is coming out victorious…I’ve been fighting tough guys since I was 16 years old and I feel like I’ve fought tougher competition, maybe not as skilled on the ground but definitely tough guys.”
Leading up to ACE 6 on Nov. 11, Sandy has relied on the trusted training coach and friend, Nick Hammond. Sandy revealed that the influence of Hammond has been invaluable to the refinement of his boxing skills – an aspect one should be on watch for fight night. The main event match-up between DeFrietas and Sandy brings forth a variety of styles making its mark as an intriguing and potentially explosive finale to ACE Fighting Championships sixth ever card.
This article is a part of ACE Fighting Championship’s special “Spotlight Series” that will look to explore the GTA’s best amateurs and their respective MMA facilities as they ready for ACE 6 on Nov. 11. You can also experience the event live in person at Nashville North in Georgetown and you can get your tickets at acefights.com.