Joel Paredes: Woodland Savage
Writing multiple stories on fighters that claim they are different tend to get boring after a while. You get the stories like ‘I was born to fight’ or ‘I do it because it is individualized’. When was I going to get an answer that was different from the clichés? When was I going to find a true and personal story?
After interviewing Joel Paredes, 23, from Woodland California I found that sometimes it’s the smallest of things that set fighters apart. For Paredes it’s about where he comes from. He’s no West Lynn gangster, nor is he some champion from Las Vegas. He’s a guy with a passion for fighting from Woodland, California.
Before talking with Paredes I had no idea where Woodland was, I’d never even heard of it. I learned it is just North of Sacramento. A part of California most people really wouldn’t want to be caught in; a city of challenge in yourself physically and mentally.
“Where I grew up everybody had something to prove. The little guys got picked on and the big guys got tested. You had to grow up with the street fighting mentality. You never knew when somebody was going to try and pick a fight with you just to see who the tougher guy is.”
During Paredes high school years he was a competitive power lifter and broke numerous state and national records including; a state record of lifting 500lbs on bench press, and breaking a national record of pulling 650lbs on deadlift, both while in the ripe, young age of 18.
Also while Paredes was in high school the hit show Ultimate Fighter debuted.
“I hadn’t seen anything like it I watched it and immediately knew that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to fight. I originally grew up watching and enjoying fighting, but when I actually watched it I knew it was what I wanted to do.”
People say it’s not about who you are, or where you come from, but for Paredes if it weren’t for living in Woodland, he may have never picked up the sport.
“If I didn’t come from Woodland, I probably wouldn’t be fighting. I grew up with the killer instinct in my blood. In Woodland everyone had something to say; something to prove. Being a fighter is my roots. I’m not like these kids fresh out of high school with their brand new Tapout shirts that join MMA because it’s growing and becoming more popular. I do it because my city trained me to be a fighter.”
Paredes’ fight name is the ‘Woodland Savage’. He says it is based off of the fact that he’s from Woodland, but does a lot of his training in Sacramento.
“I would come in to train and people kept calling me the ‘Woodland Savage’, and it just kind of stuck. I never actually train in Woodland.”
Paredes fights in the heavyweight division and his records are incredible. His pro record is 1-0, amateur Muay Thai is 3-0 and amateur boxing is 1-1. I made the assumption that he has a street fighter style, but he claims he is much more of a stand up striker.
In the next year Paredes would like to have three more pro fights, and take some belts. After that he wants to travel down south to L.A, and then up north towards Oregon and Washington.
“I’m not going to say I dream of being in the UFC. I want to go out and see what I can do; see how good of a fighter I really am. My ultimate goal would be sweeping out California and heading north to take their belts, and go to war with tough guys.”
Sometimes the most intriguing story isn’t the about a five time champion, or a guy that had a bone shattering knock out. Sometimes the best story comes from a fighter who became who he is today based off of a challenging life in Woodland, California.