Sunday, September 25, 2022

White Explains Decision To Sign 17-Year-Old Fighter

UFC President Dana White praised 17-year-old Raul Rosas Jr. following his victory on this week’s episode of the Contender Series.

While the final episode of this year’s edition of DWCS will feature the second appearance of Bo Nickal, who’s potential UFC signing has drawn much of the discussion throughout the season, the penultimate week saw focus on another major story to emerge — the decision to book a 17-year-old.

Rosas Jr. quickly amassed a 5-0 record after turning professional last year, with every victory coming in Mexico’s Ultimate Warrior Challenger promotion. Despite many states preventing a fighter of his age competing, “El Niño Problema” was granted an opportunity on DWCS.

Although his inclusion on the card split opinion pre-fight, Rosas Jr. delivered an impressive performance against 25-year-old Mando Gutierrez en route to a unanimous decision victory.

In the aftermath, many had speculated that White would offer Rosas Jr. a developmental deal given his age and lack of experience. Instead, the UFC chief cemented the Mexican’s name in history, with his signing to the roster marking him as the youngest UFC fighter in history.

White Touts “Special” Rosas Jr. After DWCS Win

During the post-fight press conference, White assessed Rosas Jr.’s display. When asked whether there were any reservations about signing the 17-year-old, White insisted that from what he saw in the cage, the youngster is more than ready to fight in the UFC.

“For a 17-year-old to conduct himself the way he did in this fight, I was blown away by it,” White said. “After what I just saw, this kid’s ready to fight in the UFC… I’m very, very impressed with this kid. He’s absolutely special. The amount of fighters that were blowing me up, going, ‘Oh, my god, this kid’s for real, this kid’s legit.’ Impressive… What I saw from this kid tonight, he looked special.”

Further discussing Rosas Jr.’s performance, White praised the bantamweight prospect for the way in which he remained active during grappling exchanges.

“I loved how active he was. He’s not one of these jiu-jitsu guys that just lays around and whatever. He’s always going for something, how slick he is, how he takes the back. When you get his back how he can get out; everything he did tonight, that kid impressed me, especially his cardio,” White added. “There was never an adrenaline dump… a lull in the fight.”

In his own post-fight interview, a confident Rosas Jr. outlined his plan to become the youngest UFC champion in history, insisting that he’ll fight whenever and against whoever.

The Mexican will look to back up those claims when he makes his Octagon debut, which will no doubt be highly anticipated following his DWCS display.

Did Dana White make the right call signing 17-year-old Raul Rosas Jr.?

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