‘I Felt Hopeless’ – How Martial Arts Gave Fabricio Andrade Confidence And Purpose
Seeing the confidence that exudes from Fabricio “Wonder Boy” Andrade today, it would be reasonable to think that he’s always been self-assured.
The Brazilian’s faith in himself is so strong, in fact, that he believes he can KO Jonathan “The General” Haggerty – one of the greatest strikers on the planet – when they clash for the vacant ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Title in the main event of ONE Fight Night 16 on Prime Video.
However, unlike his outlook ahead of their World Champion vs. World Champion clash at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium on Friday, November 3, “Wonder Boy” grew up with doubt and a lack of self-esteem.
Life was not easy in his home city of Fortaleza, where crime and volatility were not only all he knew, but also what contributed to his pessimistic outlook.
Speaking to onefc.com before his match in Bangkok, Thailand, he explained:
“I’ve had a lot of bad things in my life. I come from a very simple neighborhood on the outskirts [of Fortaleza]. There are gangs, criminal factions, and drug dealers, so I grew up seeing people die in front of me.
“I saw friends die, teenagers who were my age at the time taking their own lives. It was a very traumatic childhood for me. Despite being insane to the world, this was normal when I was a child. So, it was a very complicated childhood.”
With this backdrop to his upbringing, it wasn’t easy for Andrade to see a way out.
On top of that, although his parents worked hard to provide for him and his two siblings, they survived below the poverty line.
This meant anything other than being fed was a luxury, and he felt left out because of it. This gave him a lack of self-worth.
“Wonder Boy” said:
“I suffered a lot from inferiority problems. Coming from a very simple family and not being able to have what I wanted, I remember that at various times I felt hopeless, not knowing what my future would be.”
Martial Arts Was Fabricio Andrade’s Savior
Fabrico Andrade thought very little of himself and his prospects until he found martial arts.
“Wonder Boy” followed his friend to a Muay Thai gym and, when he watched the fighters compete, he was captured by the way people respected them for getting in the ring.
The Brazilian followed their lead, and his success started to take him from self-doubt to self-confidence while also offering him a potential route off the tough streets of Fortaleza.
“I started to get good at Muay Thai. Everyone praised me, and it motivated me every day.
“The sport changed my life. It was my one life goal. Until I started, I was lost. I didn’t know what I wanted or where I was going.
“So, it was sport that changed my life. And to this day, it gives me a goal to change my life and that of my family.”
Remnants of that upbringing during his formative years will always be etched into Andrade’s psyche, but maintaining his focus on martial arts helps him to overcome them.
It’s a constant work in progress. But as the ONE Bantamweight MMA World Champion going for gold in a second sport, he’s staying on the right side of the battle.
Reflecting on the never-ending process and offering his advice to others experiencing something similar, “Wonder Boy” said:
“The best hope we can have is to have a goal in life. You need to look for something that you like, whether it’s a sport, a job, or something that you really enjoy doing. You need to look for this and visualize where you want to get to.
“If you have a goal, you wake up every day with the mission of trying to achieve your goal. This gives you daily motivation to keep moving forward.
“The negative thoughts are there, and I’m always working to only think positive thoughts. I always take time out of my day to work on my mindset.”