Andre Santos: My dreams are to prove to Scott Coker and Rich Chou that they made the right decision by giving me this opportunity

After a 45-fight career that has seen him compete in Russia, Brazil, and Ecuador, welterweight Andre Santos will make his Bellator debut tonight against James Terry.B129_18x24_TUNEIN_bleed2

Before Santos kicked off his MMA career back in 2006 or even picked up the sport, he grew up in a volatile environment that molded him as human being and a fighter.

“I was raised in a very poor and violent area of Rio de Janeiro. I was always close with my family and I’ve always been a happy person, but I also knew that life would present many challenges and that I’d have to work hard every day to be successful,” said Santos. “I knew that I’d have to be a good person with strong morals and work ethic in order to change my life for the better.”

Growing up, Santos saw first hand how chaotic that kind of environment was, but he was able to survive it and prevail.

“One of the major difficulties I endured is that many, many of my friends got involved with drugs and crime in our city. Honestly, at least 15 of my friends died when I was younger because of their decisions and lifestyle,” said Santos. “Thought it was very painful to go through, that made me a better man and inspired me to stay far away from that kind of trouble.”

As he was able to escape from that rough setting, Andre Santos has used those individuals that have stuck with him through the adversity as a type of fuel for inspiration.

“One of my big motivators is to help my friends and teammates to succeed in MMA and find the opportunity to compete in big and reputable promotions,” said Santos. “I know that putting in all of my hard work and making a name for myself will inspire them, and help them get to the top with me.”

Now Santos will be able to do that under the Bellator banner, and that journey starts tonight at Bellator 129.

“My dreams are to prove to Scott Coker and Rich Chou that they made the right decision by giving me this opportunity. Of course, one day I would like to be the champion, but I know I must earn that right, so for now I want to become a top contender in Bellator’s welterweight division.”