Despite a TKO loss in his UFC debut last month, featherweight George Roop
has signed a new five-fight deal with the promotion.
Sources close to Roop's camp told MMA Fighting the news and confirmed the Tucson, Ariz.-based fighter had also signed the deal for his next fight against Josh Grispi at the Season 13 finale of "The Ultimate Fighter" in June.
Roop lost to Mark Hominick, his former training partner and teammate under Shawn Tompkins, at the UFC's Fight for the Troops show at Fort Hood, Texas, last month. Hominick knocked Roop down several times in the first round, and ultimately earned the TKO win just 1:28 into the fight.
And though his stint in the WEC in 2010 saw him go 1-1-1, giving him just one win in his last four fights, the Zuffa brass gave him another fight and a new contract.
Roop is in his second stint with the UFC. In 2008, he was a cast member of Season 8 of "The Ultimate Fighter" as a lightweight. Following that season, he went 1-2 in the company with a split decision loss to Shane Nelson, a split decision win over Dave Kaplan and a submission loss to George Sotiropoulos.
Following the loss to Sotiropoulos, he was cut loose. He dropped to featherweight for a win in his home city of Tucson at a Rage in the Cage event before signing with the WEC – where he dropped to bantamweight to fight former champion Eddie Wineland. But Wineland dominated Roop in the standup game, sweeping a 30-27 unanimous decision.
Roop got back to work less than two months later in his return to featherweight – where the 6-foot-1 fighter says he is the most comfortable – and had a Fight of the Night bout against Leonard Garcia that resulted in a split draw. He picked up another bonus check at WEC 51 last September when he knocked out "The Korean Zombie," Chan Sung Jung, with a head kick.
In October 2009, Roop's 7-year-old son Julian died. His win a month later got him into the WEC. And after moving back to Tucson from Las Vegas, where he was training with Tompkins, Roop told MMA Fighting last month he believes the move home was best for him and his fiancee, who recently gave birth to a son, Payden, to go along with Roop's fraternal twins.
"I'm back in Tucson, so I'm loving that," Roop said. "I've got all my friends here, all my old training partners, a lot of my old coaches – and my No. 1 old training partner, (Bellator bantamweight) Ed West."
Roop's fight against Grispi takes place at The Pearl at The Palms in Las Vegas on June 4 as part of the TUF 13 finale card, which will be headlined by a lightweight contenders fight between Clay Guida and final WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.