Taking your first loss in MMA is inevitable for most fighters. But that fact doesn’t make it any easier for anyone when that time comes. For 18-year-old bantamweight prospect Raul Rosas Jr., that first loss came last Saturday at UFC 287 against Christian Rodriguez.
Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier sees Rosas Jr.’s recent loss as something that can make him better going forward. He stated that his defeat could be a lesson in humility as he chases lightweight greatness.
“It’ll teach him humility. This kid is confident at a level that not many people are,” said Cormier on the DC & RC Show.
Cormier on Raul Rosas Jr.’s Sterling remarks: ‘It was a youthful confidence’
During his show this week, Cormier also addressed Raul Rosas Jr.’s experience training with UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling.
Cormier mentioned how in the lead-up to his fight this weekend, Rosas Jr. bragged about “going 30 percent” on the current champion. Rosas Jr. and Sterling had been going back and forth with trash talk, including a time last year when Rosas Jr. claimed he could beat Sterling “right now.”
And that while he had a chip on his shoulder going into last weekend’s fight, the recent loss might have brought him back down a little.
“It was a youthful confidence,” said Cormier on Rosas Jr.’s attitude during the latest fight week. “But it wasn’t allowing him to be his true self. Sometimes you have to be humble, and I think that fight [against Rodriguez] will humble him. And it will allow for him – a kid that has so much talent and potential – to truly go to levels that he needs to go to.”
Raul Rosas Jr. ‘squashes the beef’ with Sterling
Sterling and Rosas Jr. have since buried the hatchet. Shortly after Rosas Jr. took his first loss, Sterling offered to train with him. On Friday, Sterling released of the two chatting at the gym.
“I offered him to come train. I think tomorrow we might get some work in,” Sterling said in the video. “He’s a young kid, man. He’s got a bright future.”
NFL star Ryan Clark agrees with Cormier
Raul Rosas Jr. has been a highly touted prospect since joining the UFC last year. He earned a contract with the promotion after defeating Mando Gutierrez on the most recent season of Dana White’s Contender Series. That fight was his sixth win as an undefeated pro and took place when he was only 17 years old.
Rosas Jr. made an impact in his UFC debut, submitting Jay Perrin in the first round at UFC 282.
His opponent last weekend, Rodriguez, entered the cage with a promotional record of one win and one loss. He was coming off a first-round anaconda choke victory against Joshua Weems from last fall.
Ryan Clark, a 2009 NFL Super Bowl Champion and co-host of the DC & RC Show, also said that the loss will benefit Rosas Jr. He argued that early in his career, it was good for Rosas Jr. to learn the lessons that come with taking your first loss.
“He’s so young. [The loss] taught him so many things that you can’t learn training,” Clark said. “You can’t learn starting at a pace that’s too high. You can’t learn having someone’s back and not trying to inflict punishment and going straight for the submission, and submissions only. You can’t learn how to be calm when you face adversity unless you faced adversity inside the octagon. And him being so young, he still has a chance to come back and he’s learning these things at a professional level.”
If there’s one thing that is on Rosas Jr.’s side, it’s time. At just 18 years old, he is able to take a step back and figure out how to further his career. Going forward, what to watch with him is how long it is until his next bout, and what kind of opponent he is given then.
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