By Lance Edwards,
Sammy “The Bull” Mongonia is a fighter to watch. Stocky and powerful, he will be fighting at the upcoming Legacy hybrid card in a Muay Thai bout against Gracie Barra North Houston’s Ray Aninzo, in what should prove to be a great fight for the spectators. We caught up with Mongonia to find out more about this enigmatic fighter.
Legacy: How did you start training?
SM: My brother started Muay Thai; I worked out when I was younger, and he was always not strong or athletic, so I could push him about. After he started Muay Thai, he got in shape and started pushing me around, so I thought I’d start as well.
I trained for two and a half years at Kru Pong’s, and fell in love with the sport. In 2009, I went overseas and did mission work for The World Race, and trained while I was in Uganda, Cambodia and Thailand. I also trained in some other martial arts on the side. When I got back in 2010, I got serious and wanted to fight, and started training with Kru Pong again. I started doing BJJ at Revolution in the morning classes, and realized they were serious about their martial arts; and they wanted to expand into Muay Thai, as they were getting more space in the building. It was an opportunity to teach, and also be nearer to home, so we moved to be there (Sam, his brother Nethaneel, and a couple of others).
Legacy: Your record is 2-0. When did you start fighting?
SM: Right before I went overseas in 2009, and I had my second fight this year. The first fight was in Austin, and the second at Troy Green’s promotion in Oklahoma.
Legacy: How is fighting compared to training?
SM: It is much more mentally challenging than people think. Everyone wants to be a fighter, but it’s a whole other ballpark when you are in the ring. People don’t realize how much mental preparation it takes; I think that’s why so many people back out, as they are physically prepared for it, but not mentally prepared.
Legacy: How do you feel about your upcoming fight?
SM: I’m nervous. It’s bigger than in Oklahoma. Here I’m in front of my family and friends, I’ve sold tickets to people who are coming to watch me. I want to go out there and show what all this training has been for.
Legacy: What do you know about your opponent?
SM: Not a whole lot. I’ve heard he knows his stuff; he’s been around a long time. I’ve heard he’s very knowledgeable. I expect it to be a three-round fight, where we go all three rounds and there to be a lot of back and forth. He seems like a nice guy. I met him at 4oz at the seminar; we’re just going to go in there and do what we do.
Legacy: What’s next for you?
SM: I’m pretty charged up. More doors are starting to open, more people are contacting me. I’ll be fighting in Oklahoma on October 28. Eventually, you’ll see me do MMA. I’m not sure when but eventually.
Legacy: Outside of training, do you have any interests?
SM: Yeah, I’ve been married a year and eight months to an awesome woman who supports me in what I do. It takes a toll on your wife all the training, though, you’re in it together, and having a strong supportive wife helps a lot. My wife and I lead worship on Friday nights at a church called Faith Assembly. We lead the young adults worship band; it’s also called Revolution. Pretty much most of my life revolves around Church, training, my wife and family, work and sometimes hanging out with my buddies.
I’d like to thank my work for putting up with me, my family, friends, supportive wife, new gym (Revolution), people at my old gym, Church and people supporting me there. Also, major thanks to my brother and Uriel. I wouldn’t be the fighter I am if it wasn’t for those guys. They train hard day in day out, and also Jen and JJ.