Tallahassee, FL - A few months ago, Joseph Westberry was a high school student working for his diploma. On Saturday, the Godby alum was in an MMA fight for the first time. It was Combat Night at The Moon. It may be his last fight before he joins the Navy in a couple of months.
"I've always wanted to try it out and I'll be leaving September 18th, so this is probably the one and only opportunity I'll have," he said minutes before his fight. "I was a little nervous at first, but I'm overcoming that right now and I'm just ready to get it done with."
Westberry wrestled every year at Godby. He was a state finalist, amassing more than 115 career wins.
"Wrestling has something to do with it, but it changes now," he said.
The sound of the horn, the ambience of the crowd, the barking from the coaches all clashed at once. Westberry was locked in the cage, staring at his opponent, no turning back.
"The fight didn't go as I thought it would be because knowing from what I was told, I wasn't stand up the whole time. No wrestling involved," he said. "When I got in there, you know, I was throwing kicks and everything. And, you know, it was working for me. But I wasn't expecting to get a shot coming, either."
Westberry lost by unanimous decision. But his career isn't over.
"I hear that there's a fight coming again around September. Hopefully it's before I leave," he said. "Saw my supporting family after even though I lost. They were still there, they cared for me. They did so much for me and it just bring a smile to my face. I love the sport now."