The UFC is bringing in a fighter who just turned 18.
Raul Rosas Jr. became the youngest fighter to sign with the UFC on Tuesday night, following a unanimous decision over Mando Gutierrez in Dana White’s Contender Series. White, impressed with Rosas’ performance, offered the teenager a contract before the show ended, which he accepted. Rosas is the youngest fighter to compete on the show.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” White said of Rosas’ age and his outing against Gutierrez. “Not only that, the number of fighters who blow me up saying you’re crazy not to (sign him). …He’s absolutely, positively talented. He’s special, he’s different.”
Rosas, a bantamweight fighter, outplayed the 25-year-old Gutierrez for most of the fight with his grappling hook prowess. He nearly finished Gutierrez in the first round with a rarely used Suloev stretching submission from back control. Gutierrez had moments, knocking Rosas down and landing on the ground. But almost always, Rosas found himself in the best position, using his dexterity, skill and creativity on the pitch to fight his way to the top.
“I knew I was going to get this contract,” said Rosas, who turns 18 on October 8. “I’ve said this from the start. Since I was born, I knew this was going to happen.”
Rosas (6-0) had eliminated all his previous opponents before Tuesday evening. The Mexican-born fighter, who trains in Las Vegas, previously fought in the UWC promotion in Tijuana.
Dan Lauzon holds the record for the youngest fighter to compete in the UFC (18 years, 198 days), according to ESPN Stats & Information research. As long as Rosas enters the Octagon in the next 216 days – a likely scenario – he will beat that mark.
And Rosas is already talking about winning championships. The youngest UFC champion was Jon Jones at 23 in 2011.
“Not everyone should be surprised,” Rosas said. “I’m the new king here, so I’m coming for this belt now. … I’ll be champion when I’m 20. Respect to everyone, but I’ll be champion when I’m 20, or even before. No one tells me. will stop.”