Raul Rosas Jr. was signed to compete in Dana White’s Contender Series at age 17, and then won his official UFC debut this past weekend after just turning 18. While most pundits hope the teenage prospect would be slowly built up to reach his potential, Rosas instead immediately asked to be “fast tracked.”
He doesn’t just think he has the “potential” to be a future champion, the youngest ever UFC fighter believes he is already good enough to finish Aljamain Sterling today.
“I don’t know what the plan is, but I hope they’re trying to fast track me because I’m ready,” Rosas told MMA Fighting. “Like I said, if they offer me a fight for the UFC belt right now, I can not only go out there and win, but I can also finish whoever has the belt, which right now is Aljamain Sterling.”
Rosas, who had seven fights in a little over a year, says he’s fighting often because he wants to show he’s “ready” for the elite now, instead of spending more time to develop.
“If I knew that I wasn’t on the level, if I didn’t have nothing to offer to the table, I would have fought every four months, that way I could improve,” he said.
“All I see is gold. If I know that I can’t be champion, I would slow down a little bit, but I know I can be champion right now if I was to fight for the belt right now. This is why I’m taking my career so quick, because I know I have everything to win that belt right now.”
Sterling seemingly laughed off the teenager’s remarks.
They should make that fight next. I really think that Rosas will fu*k him up! I heard Cejudos out and Rosas is in! https://t.co/Hc70x3v2Gv— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) December 13, 2022
Me? Where? I’m just think he does Aljo bad. I hope Rosas gets him next— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) December 13, 2022
Yea that Aljo guy better watch himself frfr. Rosas isn’t anything to play with! I hope they make the Aljo fight next so Rosas can do that loud mouth in!— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) December 13, 2022
Whether or not it’s where Rosas gained some of that immense confidence, it’s worth noting how the pair has already had a couple of training sessions together. According to the UFC champion in Sterling, Rosas was a bit of a “prick” in their few interactions, with the teenager needing to be taught about proper gym etiquette.
“I grappled him twice,” Sterling said about Rosas in an older podcast. “The second time I went there to drill and they did this ‘King of the Mat’. I told him I was taking it easy for the day, just trying to get a sweat in and not go crazy. He was trying to pass my guard but doing like this on my head (motions with arms), DJ-ing me on my head. I chuckled, like ‘okay, this guy’s being a little prick right now.’
“Like I barely know this kid. Then I look over to the right, and there’s his dad with the f—king camera recording. Like ‘oh, this is a f—king show and tell right now! This is what you’re doing? You’re just recording shit and don’t say nothing?’ Like cool, you guys have champions that come in here and you’re just completely disrespectful,” Sterling recounted.
That’s just a shitty personality. You would think the kid — someone would’ve taught him some etiquette, like going into gyms and working out with other people, but I guess not,” he said. “Didn’t ask (to record videos), nothing. It was weird.”
Former UFC title challenger Al Iaquinta also weighed in, saying “if that camera comes out, we’re freaking going. It’s not going to be like (light drilling)”
“I don’t even want to do that,” Sterling said, “It’s not what I came there to do.”
Rosas is 7-0 in his young MMA career, with every bout happening in a little over a year.
Jon Jones became the youngest ever UFC champion when he beat Shogun Rua to win the title at 23 years and 242 days old. Rosas still has a lot of time if he wants to go for that record, but any talk about titles are just immensely premature after just one win.
Getting to the top is definitely a lot easier said than done, and unnecessarily rushing his development just doesn’t seem like a great idea regardless.