When Sam Agushi was 9, he got into professional wrestling.
“I liked the entertainment,” Agushi said. “I liked the incredible athletes running, jumping, diving and flipping.”
Watching wrestling sparked an interest in fighting.
At 16, Agushi started boxing and kickboxing, and a week after his 18th birthday, he competed in his first mixed martial arts fight.
Fifteen years, nearly 50 amateur fights and a pair of professional bouts later, Agushi is looking to stay undefeated as a pro.
Agushi will fight David Onama on Friday night at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence, Mo., in an event that will be shown on UFC Fight Pass.
“I changed my whole life to be a professional athlete,” said Agushi, who lives in Tiskilwa, trains in Princeton at Combat Do and graduated from Henry-Senachwine High School. “To perform on a stage in front of millions of people, that is really exciting.”
Like Agushi, Onama also is undefeated as a professional.
“He’s undefeated as an amateur and as a professional MMA fighter,” Agushi said. “He’s been fighting for five years. I think he’s similar in talent. I think he’s a really good athlete.
“I’ve been in so many fights that I know as a professional you have to do as much damage as you can. I’m going to do elbows and knees. I’m going to close the distance quickly. Experience is going to win this one.”
“(In my first professional fight in March 2019 I won by) first-round submission four minutes in. I dislocated his shoulder,” Agushi said. “(In my second fight in November 2019 I won by) first-round submission. I got on top of him with a triangle choke and rained down some powerful elbows on his face, and he tapped out.”
Agushi, who said his ground game and submission fighting are his strengths, credits his boxing background and playing multiple sports, including football and track and field, at Henry have helped him in MMA.
“Boxing has helped me a ton,” Agushi said. “All sorts of sports have helped a ton. They’ve all helped me turn into a better athlete. I’d say my best ability is being a well-rounded athlete.”
Agushi trains 12-15 hours per week on top of a full-time job and raising a family with his wife, Abigail, in hopes of achieving his goal.
“I want a pro belt, an MMA title,” Agushi said. “I want to be a professional champion and defend my belt.”