A career threatening neck injury put Charles Rosa on the shelf for over two years but after making his return to the UFC this past October, he had no intention of waiting any longer to fight again.
Even in the middle of a global pandemic, the 33-year-old Boston native was more than happy to inform the UFC that he was staying ready to fight, which probably helped his cause when the promotion was looking to fill their first card back on May 9.
Rosa was already scheduled to fight in May and he refused to allow his training camp to skip a beat even with the COVID-19 outbreak happening all around him.
“The only thing scarier for me than the coronavirus is going into the fight unprepared,” Rosa told MMA Fighting. “So you better believe I’m going to get my work in and be ready for May 9.”
Another reason why Rosa was so excited to fight was because the UFC granted his wish with opponent Bryce Mitchell. The brash, outspoken Arkansas submission specialist has made waves ever since first arriving by way of The Ultimate Fighter with a string of impressive wins and sometimes even more outlandish performances on the microphone afterwards.
That made Mitchell the perfect opponent as Rosa seeks to reclaim his standing in the featherweight division with designs to eventually work his way into title contention.
“It’s actually the fight I wanted,” Rosa explained. “In my experience in the game, it’s important to get good fights. I mean every guy in the UFC is tough. There’s not one easy fight, especially in my division. There’s not a single guy where you can say ‘oh I’ll use this to build myself up.’ They do that all the time in boxing. They’ll get these tomato cans for fighters and build them up into world title fights. But there’s no easy fights in the UFC. For me, it makes sense.
“Bryce is a super tough kid. I’m definitely impressed with the kid. He’s tough as nails. Tough as they come. He’s undefeated. He’s coming off a submission of the year. He’s a top prospect in the world. On the other side, he also has an interesting personality. The kid’s a riot. A country boy, a little bit out there, he’s nuts. The fans love that.”
Rosa knows that the fight with Mitchell could play out anywhere and he’d definitely welcome a knockout win but there’s a part of him that absolutely wants to find out who is the superior ground technician.
Mitchell has nine submission wins on his resume already and he pulled off a rare “Twister” finish in his most recent fight.
“I think he takes pride in his jiu-jitsu,” Rosa said. “I’m a black belt in jiu-jitsu under Ricardo Liborio and Charles McCarthy. I come from jiu-jitsu. That’s what I really love the most. My true love is jiu-jitsu. I love fighting but that’s what I enjoy most when I’m training. I’d love to test him out and see what he’s got.
“When it comes down to it, it’s a fight. So it’s punching, elbows, whatever but I’d definitely like to test him [on the ground].”
Over his past few fights, Mitchell has pled with the designers at Reebok to design a pair of camouflage shorts that he could wear into the octagon as part of the UFC’s official outfitting policy.
Rosa hopes his wish is granted and then he plans to send Mitchell home with a matching set after their clash on Saturday night.
“He wants his camo shorts, they better have a matching arm sling,” Rosa said. “Cause I’m going to take his arm off. He’ll look good in the interviews after.”