Due to injury, Sampson has fought only once a year for the last three years, including his most recent bout in October where he defeated Danny Sykora at Bellator 128.
“I was out of the loop for a while, about 18 months, because of my ACL tear and injuries,” said Sampson to MMAWeekly.com. “It was good to get a fight in last year and get a lot of ring rust out and get my timing back.
“I’m back into the swing of things and I’m glad to just getting back to doing what I do.”
Sampson admits that his downtime can be vexing, but he’s been able to stay the course thanks to those around him.
“I’ve been unfortunate the last several years with injuries, and it can be a big mental thing,” he said. “You have something on your brain and second guess yourself. I’m good now.
“I’m around great teammates and coaches who look after me, I’ve got great training partners and I’m ready to go.”
“I’m not going to change much up,” said Sampson of his bout with Sandoval. “I know if I stick to my game plan that good things will happen.
“I feel really confident that at the end of the night I’ll get my hand raised.”
Now that he’s healthy, Sampson is looking forward to making a run in 2015 and finally achieving the goal he set for himself when he first got into MMA.
“Every fight is big for me because I’m trying to make my dreams come true,” he said. “My ideal goal will be to fight in the UFC. I’ve really just got stay focused, push the pace, and finish this fight.
“I don’t want to just make the UFC like some guys – I plan on going there and taking people out – just getting there isn’t good enough for me.”