When Isaac Marquez lost his mother to dementia, he found himself looking for new purpose in his life.
The 32-year-old was always a huge fan of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), so one day he decided to visit Jackson Wink Academy, a mixed martial arts training facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico, just to catch a glimpse of his favorite athletes in action. Instead, that visit turned into a new passion.
Isaac, who has Downs syndrome, went to the gym that day and wound up talking to MMA fighter and UFC champion Diego Sanchez. Just a few moments into their conversation, Diego had a light bulb moment.
“He came to just come and check out the gym and I told him, ‘You like MMA?’ and he said, ‘I love fighting,’ and then I said, ‘Alright. Well are you here to just watch or do you want to train?’ and he said, ‘I want to train.’ So, I said alright let’s do this,” Diego explained.
Isaac jumped at the opportunity to train with Diego, and a few months later the two had bonded, their relationship going from strangers to best friends practically overnight.
“Diego, he’s my friend. My brother,” Isaac said.
Soon Diego had arranged for Isaac to have his first official MMA match — against Diego himself. “He believes it with all of his heart, so I am going to make it happen. You know, he will be facing me, so I will be his opponent and we are going to have a championship fight,” said Diego ahead of the big fight.
After getting himself a cool new Mohawk hairdo, Isaac “The Shermanator” Marquez entered the ring to battle his friend and mentor. Just over a minute into the match, Isaac put Diego into a hold that could not be broken, making Isaac the big winner!
Even though he technically lost, Diego felt like a winner when he saw his student take home the trophy, particularly because Isaac has devoted his training and matches to the memory of his late mother.
“Isaac lost his mother to dementia and if you ever talk to Isaac he will show you his tattoo,” Diego explained. “He is doing it all for his mom, and he is going to win the championship for his mom. So, that’s the kind of heart that this kid has,” Diego Sanchez said.
Fighting against a champion MMA fighter is a huge accomplishment on its own, let alone winning the match! Amazing job, Isaac. Thank you for reminding us how much one person can accomplish when you set your mind to it.
Watch the video below to learn more about Isaac “The Shermanator” Marquez, and don’t forget to share.
Isaac became friends with a UFC champion, who helped him realize his dream of becoming a real-life MMA fighter 🥊
Posted by Yahoo Now on Tuesday, November 27, 2018
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