The UFC brings in a fighter who has just reached his 18th birthday.
Raul Rosas Jr. became the youngest fighter to sign with the UFC on Tuesday night, after beating Mando Gutierrez unanimously on Dana White’s Contender Series. White, impressed by Rosas’ performance, offered the teen a contract before the end of the show, which he accepted. Rosas is the youngest fighter to compete in Dana White’s Contender Series.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” White said of Rosas’ age and the performance against Gutierrez. “Not only that, the number of fighters that blow me up and say you’re crazy not to sign him). … He’s definitely, positively talented. He’s special, he’s different.”
Rosas, a bantamweight fighter, dominated 25-year-old Gutierrez for most of the fight with his wrestling skills. He nearly finished Gutierrez in the first round with a rarely used Suloev stretch submission from back control. Gutierrez had moments to take Rosas down and land some ground-and-pound. But almost always Rosas ended up in the better position, using his agility, skill and creativity on the ground to make his way to the top.
“I knew I was going to get that contract,” said Rosas, who turns 18 on October 8. “I’ve been saying it from the beginning. Since I was born, I knew this would happen.”
Rosas (6-0) had outplayed all of his previous opponents before Tuesday-evening. The Mexican-born fighter, who trains out of Las Vegas, previously fought in the UWC promotion in Tijuana.
According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Dan Lauzon is the youngest fighter to compete in the UFC (18 years, 198 days). As long as Rosas gets into the Octagon within the next 216 days – a likely scenario – he will beat that target. And Rosas is already talking about winning championships. The youngest UFC champion was Jon Jones at age 23 in 2011.
“Everyone shouldn’t be surprised,” Rosas said. “I’m the new king here, so I’m coming for that title now. … I’ll be champion when I’m 20. Respect to everyone, but I’ll be champion when I’m 20, or even earlier. Nobody can stop me.”