- Height: 6'2"
- Weight: 245 lbs.
- Date of Birth: 1/16/74 (33 years old)
- Home: Amarillo, Texas
- Discipline: Kickboxing
- Gym Affiliation: American Kickboxing Academy
- Professional Fighting Record: 23-10
The American Dream is often been spoken about as a vehicle that motivates people to achieve success. For the last five years, Paul Buentello has been living his version of the dream by steadily climbing up mixed martial arts' highly competitive heavyweight ladder. Buentello's story is reminiscent of others who have made life-altering sacrifices in order to reach their goals. The lack of a sophisticated training center anywhere near his home in Amarillo, Texas left the aspiring champion short of training partners and proper coaching thirteen years ago when he initially tackled the fight world by competing in Pancration style bouts.
In his first official mixed martial arts contest, a single-elimination format tournament sanctioned by the International Fighting Championship (IFC), Buentello reached the championship round before losing to 6 foot 10 inch Gan "The Giant" McGee. Following his technical knockout victory over Larry Parker in his next start for the IFC, Buentello suffered a downward spiral, suffering three straight defeats. It was shortly after the third loss that the heavyweight fighter realized he would have to relocate to a place where he could prepare properly for future fights or risk the likelihood of being forced into an early retirement.
Refusing to abandon his career goals, Buentello ventured to San Jose, California, the home of celebrated mixed martial arts training center, American Kickboxing Academy (AKA). The commitment required him to leave a steady contracting job as well as his family, including a three year old daughter.
Since being taken under the wing of AKA head trainer, "Crazy" Bob Cook, Buentello has reaped a substantial payoff from his risky transition. After scoring a technical knockout win by way of strikes in his first start under Cook's supervision, Buentello was signed to a three-fight contract with King Of The Cage. The stint with the prominent west coast promotion saw Buentello score a thunderous, second round knockout of highly touted Mike "Mak" Kyle and, later, avenge a previous defeat he had sustained at the hands of Bobby Hoffman when he forced Hoffman into submission on November 2, 2003.
Buentello's success with King Of The Cage caught the attention of the UFC, In his debut in the UFC, he had an impressive win over Justin Eilers with a KO in 3:34 of the first round for his debut fight in UFC 51: Super Saturday on February 2, 2005. His next fight was against UFC veteran Kevin "The Shaman" Jordan on UFC 53: Heavy Hitters on June 4, 2005 where Buentello won with a guillotine choke submission at 4:00 of the first round. He lost a title shot against UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski at UFC 55: Fury on October 7, 2005. Following his loss to Arlovski, he faced off against Gilbert Aldana at UFC 57 where he won via TKO (strikes).
In 2006, Buentello joined the ranks of Strikeforce and, in his first start with the world championship fight promotion, he decimated legendary UFC veteran and street brawler, David "Tank" Abbott, in 43 seconds with a hard punch that put Abbott down and out. The matchup was billed as the headlining contest on the first-ever mixed martial arts fight card at Fresno, California's Save Mart Center.
Paul has had 2 additional fights with Strikeforce defeating Ruben "Warpath" Villareal, and former K-1 kickboxing champion Carter Williams.