American Top Team featherweight Charles Rosa is headed into his 6th UFC fight, as he is headed to the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan to face off with Mizuto Hirota on September 22, 2017. The last time we saw Rosa in the Octagaon was at UFC 210, back in April of this year, as he came up short against Shane Burgos in a Fight of the Night winning effort. Before making his way to the land of the rising sun, the 11-3 Rosa caught up with Bloody Elbow to discuss his UFC 215 performance, plans for UFC Japan, and whether or not there will be a potential UFC cookbook in Chef Rosa’s future.
The UFC Fight Night 117 main card will air live on FS1 at 10:00 P.M. ET with the Prelims airing live on FS2 at 8:00 P.M. ET. The Exclusive Fight Pass Prelims will begin at 7:30 P.M. ET, all on September 22, 2017.
- I spoke with your UFC heavyweight brother from another mother, Walt Harris, and he had the nicest things to say about your cuisine. How is the culinary career going?
“Yeah, for sure man, whenever Walt’s down here, he’s always staying over. We’re just cooking food all day and hanging out. I mean, I teach him a few things too, but we always have a good time together cooking and stuff, cheffing up a storm. He’s a heavyweight, so he gets to eat whatever he wants, so I can make him whatever, but when it’s my time, I have to get a little stricter.”
- Do you have a favorite dish that you like to prepare more so than the others?
“When I’m out of fight camp, I like making a lot of Italian food, like meatballs, Parmesan, like all that type of stuff. I love Italian food; I come from an Italian family, my dad’s Italian… Now that I’m in fight camp, pretty much, my go to now is fish. I got a fresh fish market down the street, Old Dixie Seafood. They’re pretty good, they hook me up with some really fresh fish. It comes in fresh everyday. I got some really cool little recipes that I’m putting together. The meals that I get to eat, I try to make them the best I can, and the healthiest I can.”
- Will we ever see a Charles Rosa cookbook, maybe even for the UFC?
“Yeah, maybe in the future, man. I actually talked to Paige VanZant a little while back, and she was on one of those cooking shows, I forget which one it was, maybe Chopped or something like that. So, I got to talk to her and chat a little bit about that, and she also told me that Gordon Ramsay is a huge UFC fight fan. They actually showed him on the screen a couple fights ago. Right now, I’m definitely focused on my fighting career, winning fights and training, but it’s definitely something I look forward to in the future.”
- Thoughts on your Fight of the Night winning performance against Shane Burgos at UFC 210?
“I thought I fought really good. I look back and I watch the fight, and everything that I practiced and trained for, like all of the different series I worked with my kickboxing coaches, and pretty much everything I wanted to do, I did. I thought I was fighting a really good fight. The calf kicks were landing like we thought, because we knew he was heavy on his front foot, landed some big shots, and I was definitely hurting his calf like I thought. I think in the third round, I just got a little bit too comfortable. I got hit with a big shot; I thought I was OK, I thought I recovered, but the ref kind of jumped in a little bit early. I was still on my feet and they waved the fight. I was really upset.”
- Heading to the famed Saitama Super Arena in Japan to compete at UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. St. Preux 2 on September 22, 2017:
“100% a dream come true. I always watched the Pride fights as a kid, and it’s just one of those things, like always in back of my head was like, ‘I want to go fight in Japan.’ I wish I could fight with those rules, with the soccer kicks and all that stuff, but it’s going to be just as awesome anyways. I get to go there; I love travelling, seeing different things, seeing different types of foods, and people, and culture is also stuff I enjoy. So, I definitely get to cross this one off the bucket list, and I can’t wait to come home with a win. I’m super excited!”
- You obviously have a knack for fine cuisine; are there any Japanese dishes that you are looking to get your hands on?
“They say the sushi’s amazing there, so I mean, we’ll see. I know Japan is really famous for their really good fish, and fresh fish, and sushi, but someone was also telling me about some different types of barbecue, special types of barbecue that have. That probably going to have to wait until the day after my fight, but I scoped out a couple spots for after I get that win, and be able to spend a day and get some good stuff. Depending how everything goes, if I’m healthy and stuff like that, I may stay out there for a week or two after, but we’ll see.”
- Upcoming UFC Fight Night 117 opponent Mizuto Hirota:
“Mizuto Hirota is definitely nails. I’ve watched his fights; he comes, he brings it every time. He was a DEEP champion in Japan at 155, so I know he’s going to be tough and strong. As far as his style, I think he’s pretty basic, which is good for me because it’s easier to train for. I have hundreds of teammates at ATT that can pretty much emulate that boxing/MMA style, pretty much just boxing, and takedowns, and bodylocks and stuff like that. That stuff, I train everyday. It’s going to be a little different, obviously, it’ll be a little bit easier than training for a guy like Yair Rodriguez, or even a guy like Shane [Burgos] with that really good standup, and slipping, keeping his hands down and stuff. So, this is one of those fights I really like. It’s one of those ones I can really focus on what I’m great at, and that’s digging deep. Get back to my training ways of doing sprints and running, and kind of like the Rocky style of training of just being in really good shape, because I know my skills are there.”
- You fought Shane Burgos in New York, Yair Rodriguez in Mexico, and now Mizuto Hirota in Japan. Why are you always fighting guys in their backyard?
“I don’t know, man. Obviously, I bring it every time. I even fought Dennis Siver in Europe in my UFC debut, on 5 days notice, so all of my losses have come in the worst hostile kind of environment you can imagine, but it’s what I live for. It’s nothing new to me. All sports teams have to go in the lion’s den, they got to go to away games. I just look at it like that; it’s like an away game. I’ve gotten my two fights in Boston, where I’ve been able to shine to get those win, and have the whole crowd behind me and stuff like that, but I feel like this is what makes a real fighter. Being able to go into the other guy’s country and come back with his flag, hat’s the way I’m looking at it. I’m going in there like it’s war, that’s how I go into every fight, and I’m excited for it.”
- What’s next for Charles Rosa; can we expect to see you again before the end of 2017?
“Yeah, that’s one thing I made clear with the UFC, I’m ready to go at all times. It’s always been like that, I mean I had a year layoff, but it was more just contract issues. It wasn’t injuries or me not wanting to fight; I’ve always been fairly healthy my whole career. I used to fight every two weeks. Most people don’t realize, but I took 20 amateur fights. I was fighting every two weeks when I first started this thing, so fighting is something I love to do.”
Watch Charles Rosa wage war with Mizuto Hirota, at UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Saint Preux 2 from Saitama, Japan on September 23, 2017 (Friday, September 22nd in North America). Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC event coverage including interviews, play-by-play, highlights, and more!
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