Sam Paneitz is a surging amateur prospect in the Bantamweight/Flyweight division. Paneitz is one of the top amateur prospects around right now and the Missouri native has an impressive record of 10-0. The 20-year-old still has a lot of fighting left and as he still has yet to go pro he has a very bright future.
First of all, how did you get into MMA? Also, do you have any background in any other sports?
“I started boxing when I was 12. Within a month I knew that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. A few weeks later I decided I wanted to do it all one day and go into mma so I started wrestling the next year and went back and forth between the two until I was 18 and then I started MMA.”
Is MMA your full-time job or are you working somewhere else as well?
“I’m only an amateur, so it isn’t necessarily a job for me, but I do train full time over the summers when I am not at college and I train after class each day that I’m not wrestling during the school year.”
Can you explain who you train with and how you came across the camp? Also, who are some of your main sparring partners?
“I would always just look up mma gyms in the area before I was old enough to start and I just decided to go to the closest one. I’m very thankful that it happened to be Wolves’ Den. I have a ton of great sparring partners. Ashley Cummins, Raja Singh, John Madaus, and Danny Moriarty are a few of the ones I’ve been sparring with for my recent fights.”
What would be your favorite striking technique and grappling technique?
“My favorite striking technique is probably just good switches and fakes to set up high and low strikes in general. As far as grappling goes right now at least, my teammates could all answer this one for me. Probably a kimura trap.”
You have mainly fought at flyweight in your career but you have also fought at bantam and feather. What is the weight class you look to stay at or do you plan on fighting at more than one?
“Unless I grow at all, flyweight is going to be my primary weight class, especially when I go pro. Featherweight was definitely a one-time thing on shorter notice, and we have done a few at bantamweight recently but only mostly for tournaments because making 125 every day isn’t something we see me being able to do.”
Tapology says you are currently 10-0, is that correct? Also how many more amateur fights do you plan on taking before you go pro and explain the reason?
“Yes, I am 10-0 currently. I have a lot of amateur fights left though. We have a lot of mma planned this year and then a lot more Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu next year. The main reason is that I also wrestle in college so I can’t go pro until I finish my senior season in two years. I’m still very young so this isn’t a huge worry for us.”
What is your favorite memory from your career so far?
“That’s a tough question. I guess I’ve never really thought about what my number one is, but I have had a ton of great memories already. Winning my first title was a great experience and a great time with my team after. The same goes for winning a title this past weekend alongside my teammate Aaron Lake. Winning nationals was obviously huge too. It’s hard to answer because I had always wondered if I would find a good gym and if everything would work out, and every time I have success with my team, it just makes me realize how great it is to see everything work out.”
Being very active like yourself how many times would you like to fight this year?
“I wouldn’t necessarily put a number on it, I would just say I want everything that we have planned to go through. We plan on going to Africa for the open tourney there which will be about 3 fights, defending one of my belts, winning another one in Vegas and maybe one more at some other point over the summer, and then obviously worlds in Bahrain towards the end of the year which is about 5 fights. I would love to finish the year with over 20 total fights. That would put me at least 12 fights in 2018.”
You are actually coming off a win here recently so can you explain to the fans that couldn’t watch how the fight played out?
“The fight went well for the most part. My only two issues that I had were that I rushed the finish after dropping my opponent with a head kick and that I’m still getting comfortable in the cage. I have so much more to offer than what I show in my fights. I show myself in sparring that I’m able to do it against high-class fighters all the time. I just need to get comfier in competition. We saw a glimpse of it in this fight and it looked good though. As far as the fight itself, I won the first round on top with my wrestling, jiu-jitsu, and ground and pound, the second after dropping him with a switch head kick, and the third was a mix of striking and grappling.”
Who are some of your role models (if any) being the reason you fight?
“I have a ton of role models in my life, obviously my coaches are huge in that aspect. But honestly, no other person is the reason I fight. I fight because I love it. I’ve had a passion for it since I started and it only grows stronger over time.”
Even though you’re not fighting professionally yet, How far are you looking into the future? How do you envision your career playing out?
“On one end I always focus on the next step at a time, but on the other end, I’m also always dreaming and working to making those dreams realities. I have no limit to how well I want my career to play out though. I want to be the best and I put that on myself to make it there.”
Any desire fighting outside the US? Is so, where?
“I definitely can’t wait to travel the world and fight all over in years to come. Like I said earlier, we already plan on fighting in South Africa and Bahrain this year. If I could go wherever I wanted though, I’d go anywhere tropical where I can go to the beach for a few days after the fight.”
Do you watch MMA? If so, who are some (or one) of your favorite fighter(s)?
“I love watching and studying mma and different techniques. My favorite has got to be Demetrius Johnson. Some other ones are TJ Dillashaw, Frankie Edgar, Dominick Cruz, and Cody Garbrandt.”
Combination if you had to eat. Chocolate in a salad or ranch dressing on a hot dog?
“If I had to choose, I guess chocolate in a salad.”