The Sandman was a global Extreme Cagefighting Champ, and joined UFC to fight Hector Ramirez and Alessio Sakara. While going to Azusa Pacific College or university on a soccer scholarship, he started trained in brazilian jiu-jitsu. In another of his early UFC battles, he squared off against another newcomer, Thiago Silva; he eventually dropped after injuring his leg. He was created in Huntington Seaside, the hometown of many UFC greats, like Tito Ortiz. He was planned to battle Rashad Evans in Britain at UFC 85, but needed to pull out because of a foot damage.