The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is an American mixed martial arts promotion company based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Where just entering the fight game is an enormous challenge, Marcelo Rojo is proud to be in the world’s most recognizable MMA organization.
The 32-year-old has been competing in MMA for a decade, and now finally makes his UFC debut. The 16-6 (MMA) 0-0 (UFC) will go face-to-face against Charles Jourdain this Saturday at UFC Fight Night 187 in Las Vegas.
Waiting for an opportunity to step up in the UFC Octagon for many years, ‘El Pitbull’ finally has his chance. Training in Tijuana, Mexico, at the Entram Gym, the fighter has trained with many talented fighters. He was also known as one of the best Latin American fighters to not be signed to the UFC.
Signing The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)
“Every fighter is looking to become a UFC fighter, but unfortunately, I have to say this: For the Latino fighter, it’s a much more difficult achievement.” –Marcelo Rojo to MMA Junkie.
“For the Latino fighter, it’s more years of work. It’s hard to get noticed because they don’t look down south too much, and I know there’s talent in Argentina and all of Latin America. We’re all obviously working for this, so I don’t like to get on this role and say this. But I need to be the tip of the sword for all Latin Americans because for the Latinos, it’s so much harder to get to the UFC–I can assure you that. There’s a ton of Russians, Brazilians, a ton of Americans who wake up, go around the block, and go train at (Team) Alpha Male or some of the best gyms in the world.
“Unfortunately, the economic state of the Latin American countries, they don’t support or give you anything to grow in MMA. So for the Latino fighter it’s two, three, four, five times harder to get to the UFC.”
The fighter knows what it takes to become a UFC fighter. Marcelo Rojo is excited to exhibit his moves. But more importantly, Pitbull feels proud to be a UFC fighter who lives and trains in Latin America. Also, Rojo knows the competition from Brazilians, Russians, and Americans, and the fact that makes it tougher to be a UFC fighter for Latinos is the lack of support.
A stumble may prevent a fall for the Pitbull. Rojo has been in the UFC lights in 2016, being a part of “TUF: Latin America.” Rojo is a bantamweight, moved up to the lightweight division, but lost to Claudio Puelles in the semifinals of the tournament.
Already decided not to give up
“As a human being, you grow as you’re doing this and you’re developing as time goes by,” Rojo said. “Obviously, you always have your bad days. You sometimes feel bad, lose fights, and sometimes your mind betrays you and tells you to abandon everything.
“But this is a job about discipline and being constant. I’ve seen the most talented fighters waste their talent for not having discipline and being constant. I’ve trained with people who are really good and stop training for a year, and when they come back, I’m now better than them. I saw that as a lesson and I couldn’t believe I was better than some people. I couldn’t believe it. “So all you need is persistence, have a strong mind, and show up. It’s discipline. Maybe the motivation dropped and maybe I was sad at times, but I’ve always been disciplined and I always got up and trained. And now look: I’m in the UFC.”
Discipline has played a key role for the fighter to always keep up with the good work. Marcelo Rojo never got discouraged and knew one day he would undoubtedly make it.
“You always have a little nerves before a fight–it’s not about it being in the UFC, “Before you step in the cage, you know you’re putting your body on the line–and people don’t see that. People see the fun part, and that’s fine that people only see that because that’s what they deserve. I’m the one that does the hard work.
The fighter needs to give it all the moment they step inside the cage. But that is not the fun part for fans, people just see the punches, those kicks, the battle. The hard work is a lot more which needs to be done before stepping inside the octagon. Marcelo Rojo says, he is the one who does the hard work.
“You’re always taking a risk because you can get hurt–it’s a fight. And if you lose, you make less money. So yeah, a little nerves. But I have a ton of experience. I’ve already been through so many UFC fight weeks (cornering teammates). I’ve been in the octagon. I have no problem.” –Rojo added.
The Argentinian has been waiting for this moment for many years. Being one of the most important moments in his career, the fighter is rather calm and not more nervous than he usually is for a battle. Pitbull hopes to make his Debut in UFC a successful one. However, the wait for the UFC Fight Night 187 is almost over. The preliminary card starts at 3.30 AM IST Sunday, March 14 and the Main Card starts at 6.30 AM IST Sunday, March 14.
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