Helena native Sam Spengler is looking to make a comeback in 2012.
The Capital High School grad was quite the football player and wrestling during his tenure, and has since moved to the Bay Area to train with Strikeforce and UFC star Cung Le.
Spengler racked up three wins in his pro career, when he got the call from Strikeforce in 2006. He won in his promotional debut, getting a first round TKO. He would falter in his two following fights, and took some time off.
After a four year absence from the sport, Spengler will be featured on the main card of the “Dragon House 9” MMA card in San Francisco,CA Feb. 11.
We got a chance to talk to Spengler about his return and his outlook in 2012.
MTCage: It’s been four year since you last fought – why such the long layoff?
Sam Spengler: I have been occupied with school & coaching. Also, I just didn’t have the drive for competitive mma after the last fight left me with a bad taste. That fight was a horrible stoppage call. But, because I love to compete and always consistently train, I have been looking for an mma fight recently.
MTCage: Having the time off, what things have you been working on?
Sam S: During the time off I have been staying active with martial arts. I have continued to work on my kickboxing and wrestling with Cung Le and training partners. I have also been competing in Jiu Jitsu tournaments and improving my game there with Smash Gyms, run by Rudy Sanchez and Michael Jen.
MTC: You can from a wrestling background and now you are training with UFC fighter Cung Le. How did that come about?
S.S.: Being a wrestler first I always wanted to expand my knowledge as a martial artist. The best way for me to do that is to add disciplines combined with wrestling. Sanshou is kickboxing with takedowns included. Fortunately, Cung Le, one of the top Sanshou fighters in the world has a gym where I live in San Jose, CA. I joined up with his gym and loved it. Having a wrestling base has made every martial arts transition much easier.
MTC: MMA is growing by leaps and bounds in Montana now – ever think about fighting in your home state?
S.S.: That is great to hear and read about how mma is becoming so popular in MT. Fighting there will likely not happen for me because my team, management and trainers are in San Jose, but I’m not ruling it out.
MTC: Any advice for the Montana fighters looking to take that next step?
S.S.: There are great wrestlers in Montana. That’s where it starts. Now with mma picking up there as well, opportunities will present themselves to those that continue to train, look to evolve as martial artists and compete.
MTCage: What are you goals for 2012?
S.S.: My goals for 2012 are to compete as much as possible and consistently train.
MTCage: Know anything about your opponent?
S.S.: My opponent, Xavier Macay, is tough. He is a quality Muay Thai fighter and has good Jiu Jitsu.
MTCage: Anyone you’d like to thank?
S.S.: I have many people to thank including coaches, teammates and supporters. But, the most important people to me are my parents. I can never thank them enough.