By Dane McGuire
Raul Rosas Jr made history by entering the UFC off DWTNCS at age 17. He followed this with a submission win in his official UFC debut and has no plans of slowing down.
Rosas Jr defeated Jay Perrin via face crank in 2:44 at UFC 282 in December. By earning the finish, he was among several finishers to earn $50,000 bonuses.
Ahead of his next bout opposite 7-1 Christian Rodriguez at UFC 287 on April 8, Rosas Jr made it known he is first coming after bantamweight gold. He then aims to tackle both featherweight and lightweight and hold the belts simultaneously.
Rosas Jr has until age 23 to beat Jon Jones’ record and become the youngest ever UFC champion. Rosas Jr. has earned six of his seven career victories by stoppage.
“Just believe in yourself, no matter who doubts you,” Rosas said. “Right now, me saying I’m going to be champion, a lot of people think I’m crazy that I’m going to become the youngest UFC champion, but I believe in myself and mark my words: I will be champion in one year or less.”
“I’m just getting started,” he added. “This is nothing to me. I ain’t celebrating nothing until I have them three belts around my waist: 135, 145, 155, let’s go! Woo!”
Rosas Jr, now 18, is still in high school, now home-schooled, making him the youngest fighter in UFC history.
“Man, this is crazy, but I knew I was going to be here at this age,” he said after his debut. “So right now I’m just living the dream. I had no nerves, no pressure, felt free. I’m doing what I love to do. And right now, tonight, I just came to introduce myself, because I’m coming for that belt.”
“I feel really happy but not satisfied. I’m ready to step back in there as soon as possible and get what I really want, which is a title,” Rosas added.
After the completion of special forms at the time, Rosas Jr was allowed to compete on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, earning a UFC contract. Prior to this, he fought in a modified form at the youth level under the United States Fight League.
He became a 2019 youth world champion under the UFC-partnered International Mixed Martial Arts Federation before turning pro.
“I’m ready to go out there and show my skillset like I’ve always done,” Rosas said. “I don’t care who I face, I’m here to show that there’s levels. Tune in April 8th, I’m going to show my skillset and show that I deserve to fight for a title.”