Raul Rosas Jr is the youngest new star on the UFC roster and with only one official UFC fight under his belt, he’s already fighting on a pay-per-view main card in his second fight. This begs the question, is Raul Rosas Jr as good as he says he is and as good as UFC is making him out to be, or is he just good for his age?
Is Raul Rosas Jr a Top Prospect:
There’s no doubt that at this stage, he is a prospect in the UFC. Raul Rosas Jr. is 18 years of age and 7-0 as a pro. Six of his seven wins come by way of finish, and his UFC debut was a dominant submission victory in round one. We see it often in the UFC, undefeated prospects come alone and start to dominate. Guys like Bo Nickal, who was finishing guys off easily in the first round and is a multi-time champion colligate wrestler who recently took out Jamie Pickett in one round. Or, someone like Khamzat Chimaev who came in steamrolling everyone and now has big victories over the likes of Kevin Holland and Gilbert Burns, two guys who are in big positions at this Saturday’s UFC 287 event.
The difference between them and Raul is that he’s getting slack for fighting relatively ‘nobodies’ and while that may be true, this is only his second fight in the UFC and while he says he believes he could be the divisions champion right now, who happens to be Aljamain Sterling, it’s understandable why the UFC wouldn’t hot shot the 18-year-old phenom into a championship fight immediately, despite his best efforts to continue to call out the top five on his way to be the youngest UFC Champion.
Just How Good Is He?:
Make no mistake about it, this kid is good. The first time UFC fans were able to see him fight was during last years Dana White Contender Series where he had to get a permission slip to fight due to only being 17 at the time. Though he did get the win, Mando Gutierrez brought the fight and left Raul with a bloody nose and let everyone know that this kid can at least take a punch.
A lot of fast-rising stars have the ability to finish their fights so quickly, that fans and even opponents can never get a good read on what they’d be like in a full 15-minute fight. While Rosas Jr has dominated a lot of his fights, his first UFC outing on the contender series went the full 15, and let us all know that he does have the cardio to go a full 15 minutes with non-stop action.
For the critics saying that Raul Rosas Jr is being gifted opponents that he’s supposed to beat, such as Mando Gutierrez or his first official UFC opponent, Jay Perrin, of course. It would be a mistake by the UFC to put this kid in there with killers right off the bat. But, the glorious thing about this sport is that if he keeps on winning, the challenges get harder, with each opponent arguably being tougher than the last.
This weekend, Raul Rosas Jr. Kicks off the main card of UFC 287 against Christian Rodriguez, a 8-1 fighter whose only loss came by way of decision to Jonathan Pearce back in February of 2022. But, he did pick up a big first-round submission win against Joshua Weems in October 2022 at UFC Fight Night 213 and looked good in that outing.
But, here’s where things took a turn. Many fans thought Christian could beat Raul initially. Now, today, one day away from UFC 287, Christian Rodriguez missed weight for the fight. The fight will still go on, with Christian giving up a percentage of his fight purse, but, he did not look good on the scale. Though he was one pound off from making weight, it looked like trying to get that one pound off drained him. Not only physically, but mentally as well.
While both men stood face to face at the ceremonial weigh-ins, the body language and emotion shown on the face of Christian said it all, and I believe that Raul Rosas Jr will get yet another decisive victory tomorrow night. Yet, questions will obviously still remain. Is he good, or is he just good for his age?
While Raul Rosas climbs the mountain of the UFC rankings, he will continue to face harder and harder fights. But, with each fight and each win comes more confidence and more practice. As the kid continues to sharpen his skills, he’s only going to get better. So, no, I don’t think he’s just good for his age. Despite being only 18 years old, I believe that Raul Rosas Jr. is the real deal and if he’s as good as he says he is, he will be the new youngest world champion in UFC. I predict that by the middle of 2024, Raul Rosas Jr. will be in the top 15 of the bantamweight division and won’t be too far off from becoming champion.
By: Brady Alexander