Three-time NCAA wrestling champion Ed Ruth made a fast rise up the welterweight ranks since joining the roster at Bellator MMA, but despite his desire to eventually become champion, he has no problem taking his time.
Considering he entered the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix after only six fights it might be hard to believe that the former Penn State standout is willing to wait very long for anything, but he abides by the old saying that patience is a virtue.
The best example is Ruth’s attitude towards the recent news that reigning Bellator champion Douglas Lima would be leaving the division temporarily to face Gegard Mousasi at 185 pounds to compete for the vacant middleweight title.
Lima’s shot at becoming a two-division champion means the list of contenders at welterweight might be put on hold for an undetermined amount of time but don’t count Ruth among the fighter who might complain about it.
“It’s going to put the welterweight belt on hold but that’s all right,” Ruth told MMA Fighting. “I do feel like either this year or next year, I definitely want to fight for the belt. But I’m a patient guy.”
Instead of complaining about what he can’t change, Ruth prefers to look at the bright side of his situation.
With a win, Ruth would probably be stuck in line behind contenders like Lorenz Larkin or Michael “Venom” Page, who both fought Lima previously and came up short. Instead, Ruth might be in a prime position to pounce on one of those high profile fights to determine a clear cut No. 1 contender to face Lima upon his return.
“I do see a good opportunity here,” Ruth added.
Fighting in a main event also gives Ruth the chance to add a little more seasoning as he continues to grow and evolve as a fighter after spending most of his life on the mats in wrestling.
As he learned following a knockdown in his last fight against Jason Jackson, Ruth is still figuring out the balance between his world-class wrestling and his developing striking game.
“My wrestling makes me feel way more comfortable, especially when I’m striking,” Ruth explained. “Just knowing that I got knocked down — OK, where’s that leg? I know I’m comfortable there. It’s almost like [Nate] Diaz. Diaz has his [Brazilian jiu-jitsu]. I’ve definitely wanted to work on my striking.
“Because I feel like a lot of wrestlers would come in and they would do the striking and they would ignore the wrestling, which is kind of the direction I’ve been going. I’m getting back to the wrestling. Trust me.”
While he doesn’t plan on allowing Amosov to get any knockdowns in their fight on Friday, Ruth says as angry as he was at himself for allowing it to happen in the first place, he now knows he can take a punch and keep on coming.
“I don’t expect all of them to be pretty and easy,” Ruth said. “I always go in there thinking this guy might show me something I’ve never seen before. When he knocked me down, I got the chance to face that adversity.
“After the fight, I was pissed. I took too much damage, but I’m glad I went through it because it makes me more comfortable going forward. It lets me know I can get knocked down and get back up.”