Joby Sanchez’s (3-0) journey to the XFC cage began as a child watching boxing with his father on television. At just eight-years-old, Sanchez wanted to be more than just a spectator of combat sports, so his father enrolled him in a local kickboxing class where he fell in love.
Over time, training and competing have continued to be important parts of the young bantamweight’s life and daily schedule.
“Every day through high school and everything I would go to school, eat and then go to practice all night,” Sanchez said. “There will be times when I don’t go to practice and I pace around the house bored, not knowing what to do.”
In high school Sanchez was a state runner-up in wrestling, and since that time has amassed a 32-3 amateur boxing record and a 9-1 record as an amateur MMA fighter.
When a friend told him about the XFC open fighter tryouts earlier this year, Sanchez knew that it was the opportunity he had been looking for in hopes of one day becoming a full-time professional fighter.
“I actually found out [about the tryouts] from a friend,” Sanchez said. “It was probably about two months prior to the tryouts, and I believe that in this sport the windows of opportunities only stay open for so long. I know that if I want to make a career out of this then I have to jump on those opportunities, so me and my trainer talked about it and we decided that it would be the best move for me to tryout.”
In preparing for the tryouts, all the New Mexico native knew was that XFC officials would be evaluating each hopeful based on their overall well roundedness as a fighter. For Sanchez, that was welcoming news.
“I read that the XFC was going to look at everything, and that’s what I think is the strongest aspect of my game,” Sanchez said. “I’m not just good at one thing, but I’m pretty good or decent at everything.”
That wide-ranging skill set is what helped Sanchez stand out among the 100 fighters vying for an XFC contract at the promotion’s open fighter tryouts held this past June at the Fighting Arts Academy in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The 11-hour day began with a mitt session followed by jiu-jitsu, wrestling and scrambling drills. After that, Sanchez was one of the fighters chosen by the XFC to compete in the day’s final sparring session.
“I excelled in the sparring out of everything,” Sanchez said. “All of us were tired, but I was conditioned enough just to push through it all and do really well.”
All of the time Sanchez has dedicated to training paid off as he was named the winner of the open fighter tryouts and awarded a five-fight contract with the XFC. Even in the weeks since winning, Sanchez said that it still hasn’t full sunk in yet.
“It hasn’t really hit me,” Sanchez said. “Out of all the years of training I know that this is a step where I need to be.”
The next important moment of Sanchez’s budding MMA career will take place when he makes his XFC debut at XFC 20: High Octane against Josh Ward (1-0). XFC 20 takes place on September 28 at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium in Knoxville, Tenn. and will air live on AXS TV (formerly HDNet).
For Sanchez, his bout with Ward is not just about making his XFC debut, but it’s also about chasing a dream that began when he was eight-years-old.
“I just want to be the best fighter that I can possibly be and to try to make a career out of this,” Sanchez said. “I think it’s so hard because we give up so much as fighters just to try to make a career out of this. It’s possible, but it isn’t probable. I’m still going to school and I have to work just to support myself to do this dream to be able to do this as a full-time job. Just to become a world champion, that’s my goal.”
Joby Sanchez would like to thank the XFC, his parents, his trainers, Grandmaster Chavez, Gracie Baja New Mexico, Duke City Crossfit and everyone else that has helped him get to this point.