Canadian Jesse Ronson has moved on from the UFC for now, but says he is back in the promotion’s good books.
Ronson signed with the UFC in December for a short-notice fight at UFC 231, but was pulled from the card after being deemed “too heavy” to safely make weight. Immediately after his removal from UFC 231, Ronson, then the TKO welterweight and lightweight champion, was also released from the promotion.
Ronson admitted he shouldn’t have taken the fight in the first place. Ronson said he was 190 pounds when he got the call to fight Diego Ferreira and managed to cut down to 176 pounds in 11 days.
UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby was upset with Ronson, he said, because Ronson told him he would be able to make weight but failed to do so. Ronson said since then, however, he has “smoothed things over” with the executive.
After Ronson made weight for a TKO fight in April that was ultimately scrapped due to a skin infection on his face, he emailed Shelby — and Shelby responded to him within an hour, Ronson said, with an explanation of what had happened a few months prior.
“[Shelby said], ‘With what happened to Diego Ferreira, it’s not about me,’” Ronson said of his email conversation with Shelby. “‘I realize that nobody is perfect, I may have jumped the gun a little bit, but yeah, I was pissed. You told me you would make weight and you didn’t. Diego Ferreira had to go through three opponent changes; it was a lot of extra work that we didn’t have to do.’”
Ronson said his manager Daniel Rubenstein also helped mend Ronson’s relationship with Shelby. Ronson said Shelby told him to get a couple wins and then they could perhaps work something out from there.
“I’m just glad that he actually responded,” Ronson said. “He’s always been a nice guy. He’s always answered me when I’ve messaged him even when Joe Silva was around. I’ve always liked Sean. I’m glad to know he’s still not pissed about what happened in December.”
Ronson, however, has his focus set on PFL.
“The Body Snatcher” signed with PFL as a replacement fighter in the lightweight tournament and makes his promotional debut Thursday night at PFL 5 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Ronson meets 2018 champion Natan Schulte in his first and only regular-season bout.
Ronson, 33, said this is the opportunity he’s been waiting for ever since he had three fights in the Octagon from 2013 to 2014.
“I’ve rounded out my game,” Ronson said. “My coaches are saying my wrestling and my jiu-jitsu is now better than my striking. I can hang with brown belts and black belts on the ground, and my striking is still a step above anyone else. I’ve been waiting for a big organization to sign me so I can showcase this stuff, because I’ve been kind of holding back on the regional scene — which, looking back, was stupid, because if I would’ve had a super explosive knockout or submission win, I could’ve gotten back sooner. But now’s the time to let it all hang out.”
Ronson, who went 0-3 in his first UFC run, said the UFC holds a special place in his heart because of its prestige. He has the PFL tournament in front of him right now, but Ronson has no desire to step away from the sport without ridding his UFC record of that zero.
“I would love to make it back to the UFC,” Ronson said. “I can’t retire without getting at least one win in the Octagon. It’s gut-wrenching knowing you made it there and didn’t get it win. I could die a happy man if I got a UFC win.
“I would always be keen or willing to go back if they wanted to sign me. But right now, the only thing on my mind is becoming the 155-pound PFL tournament champion.”
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