Following a fresh 4-fight UFC contract, Charles “Boston Strong” Rosa is headed to UFC 210 to take on Shane Burgos on April 8, 2017. Since his 2014 promotional debut, Rosa has gone 2-2 in the UFC, with those 2 losses resulting in Fight of the Night honors. Before traveling to Buffalo, New York, Rosa took the time to touch base with Bloody Elbow to talk about more training attention at American Top Team, his UFC 210 opponent, and why he passed on higher-paying options to remain with UFC promotion.
From Culinary Arts to meeting M.C. Hammer:
“I always liked the Diaz brothers; I got to meet them awhile back. When I was an amateur, I went to one of the events and cooked; I’m also a chef. I’m also a personal chef and I also work in a restaurant. I have a degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales. When I was just an amateur, to make some extra money, Lex McMahon from Alchemist Management, flew me up to Seattle when Rory MacDonald fought B.J. Penn. That was like my first real experience being around the UFC guys. Even though I was just an amateur fighter, I got to meet like M.C. Hammer, I got to meet all the UFC guys, got to meet Dana White.”
Hammer Time is cool, but Nick Diaz is better:
“I think one of the guys that was a really cool guy to talk to was Diaz, Nick Diaz. The way he thinks about fighting is very similar to mine. It’s kind of like kill or be killed. That’s kind of the way I’ve always fought.”
Hometown finish of Sean Soriano at the Boston Garden:
“Ah, man. I don’t think I could ever top that. That was a dream come true. I actually met a bunch of the Boston Bruins. I’m a huge hockey fan, so I got to walk out with my Boston Bruins jersey, which was awesome.
“When I was a little kid, I played hockey, and I used to go to all the Bruins’ games in that same arena. My dream as a little kid, was always to go to the Boston Garden, and be able to walk out of that tunnel with a Boston Bruins jersey with my name on the back, and I was able to do that. The thing is, when I was a kid, the thing I always liked to do the most in hockey, was fighting. I always thought I’d be a goon, or something like that, for one of the teams, but man, my dream came true. I went there and got my hand raised.”
Looking to avenge his split decision loss to Yair Rodriguez:
“I thought I won the fight. I kind of felt like I got robbed, if you look at it from even an outside point. Obviously, I’m going to feel like I won the fight. I finished it on top of him, punching him. I had him broken, but man, it was just so hard to put the guy away. These are the toughest guys on the planet that we’re facing, obviously. I really feel like I had him broken, and was just like, maybe seconds to minutes away from really just finishing him, and making him quit.
“At the end of the fight, he threw up on himself. He could barely do his interview he was so tired. Losing a split decision in Mexico, to a Mexican, in his home town; it kind of speaks for itself, man. One of the Mexican judges said I won, two of them said I lost, split decision. It didn’t go my way, but that’s one of those ones I really want back. That one eats at me a lot.”
Deceptive 2-2 UFC record?
“My only 2 losses don’t really feel like defeats, for me, in the UFC. 2-2 record you look at, and you’re like, ‘oh yeah, he’s pretty good. He’s good enough to be in there. He’s having good fights. He belongs in the UFC, but is he a superstar?’
“If you look at my 2 losses; they weren’t real losses. Both of my losses were Fight of the Night. One of them was on 5-days notice against Dennis Siver, who was ranked #10 at the time, and I had to fly across the country and cut 35 pounds, in 5 days, to make that fight. I don’t like to make excuses, but take any UFC fighter in the featherweight division, and tell them on 5-days notice to fight the #10 guy in the world, and have to cut that much weight... I think I did pretty good.”
Knowing where you belong:
“In Mexico City, man. That’s one of the one’s I thought I won. I don’t feel like he [Rodriguez] won that fight. I feel like I won it, and I want it back. Obviously, he’s shining now. He’s fighting Frankie Edgar, and if he wins that, it looks like they’re going to give him a title shot. So, I know where I belong. Training at American Top Team, training with the best guys in the world, I know what my skills are.”
Back to Bean Town for UFC Fight Night 81, but this time making the front page:
“By the second time I was in Boston, a lot of the fans and the people really embraced me a lot more. I’m undefeated in Boston. My whole career, I’ve never lost a fight in New England, all the way through the pros, amateurs, everywhere. I’m 2-0 in the Boston Garden in the UFC. So, it was pretty cool for them to embrace me. I got to be on the front page of The Boston Herald, which is a newspaper there, which is the only thing my grandfather gets to read... It was definitely special.”
One-year layoff due to last-minute fights falling through:
“I was off for a year. A year layoff, and it wasn’t because I was injured or anything like that. I was healthy the whole time; I was asking to fight the whole time... In that year off, I was reaching out to the UFC every couple of weeks. I accepted 3 different short-notice fights, on 2-weeks notice, but all of them kept falling through.
“One, it was against B.J. Penn. He ended up getting Cole Miller, that fight ended up not happening. They called me for Ryan Hall when I was in Italy on vacation. I was literally eating a piece of pizza; I put the piece of pizza down and started running in Italy. I was completely on vacation. Then, that fight fell through 2 days later. Then, after that they asked me to fight Alex Enlund in Germany. That somehow fell through. So, it was really stressful having to be ready at a minutes notice all the time.”
New UFC contract despite better paying options:
“I signed a new 4-fight contract with the UFC. It was a long process, honestly... I really wanted that contract. I made it happen. We finally got everything, and came to good terms, and got a deal. I got everything I wanted. I’m where I want to be. I want to be in the UFC, fighting the best guys. I had other options, maybe for a little bit better money with other things, but you know what, at this point, I want to be in the UFC. I want to fight the best, and I want to be able to wake up in the morning, and look myself in the mirror, knowing that I’m fighting the best guys in the world, and I can call myself the best fighter when I win the belt.”
Thoughts on UFC 210 opponent Shane Burgos:
“I definitely think he’s a talented up and coming fighter. There’s no doubt about that. He comes from a good striking school, Tiger Schulmann, but I kind of really see him as kind of like a Sean Soriano... Sean Soriano’s a very technical striker, came out of the Blackzilian gym, had a good gym. He was a young kid, he was like 24-25 years old, big prospect, big name. But you know what, I mean I’m not the same fighter as when I fought that guy 2 years ago.
“Shane comes out pretty strong. I’ve watched a lot of his fights. I watched film on him and stuff. He likes to move forward, he likes to try to be the dominant fighter. He kind of likes to bully all of his opponents, and he’s running into the wrong guy for that. I’m not the type of guy you can make walk backwards, and push up against the fence, and bully, and kind of just like, dominate. He’s going to be running into a brick wall if he keeps moving forward. So, it’ll be an awesome action packed fight, for sure.”
Getting better looks at American Top Team:
“I’ve been training at American Top Team, and now that I’m in the UFC, I get way better looks, as far as training partners, and pads, and the right training coaches, private lessons with the best guys and the best coaches. They put more attention on you once you’re signed. I’m so much of a better fighter since that last fight, and I think this is going to be the one where you can really, really see my skills shine. I’ve known about this guy for awhile. I feel like this is going to be my breakout fight, where people really are going to remember who I am.”
Will you get the finish?
“It’s really going to be on him if I get the finish or not. If he’s tough enough to survive a brutal beating, then maybe he’ll be able to survive. Other than that, then he’s going to get put away.”
Watch UFC featherweight Charles Rosa take on Shane Burgos at UFC 210 in Buffalo, New York on April 8, 2017. Stay Tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC event coverage including interviews, play-by-play, highlights, and more!