SAN ANTONIO, TX, June 25, 2012 – The UWF Tournament of Warriors Finale is up this Saturday and an impressive lineup is coming to Corpus Christi’s American Bank Center led by the grand prix finals for $30,000 in prize money.
Beyond the tournament, there are some highly-rated fighters competing on the undercard as well. In addition, some top up-and-coming Texas MMA prospects will be highlighted as well.
One of them is Ray “The Judge” Rodriguez who will be making his pro debut against Daniel Lucas.
As an amateur, Rodriguez went a perfect 4-0 while fighting for San Antonio’s Premier Combat Group association. He capped that stage of career off in spectacular fashion with a flying knee KO of Josh Rios to win their 145 lbs. title this past January. Now he looks to go pro after fulfilling his military obligations and moving to San Antonio to train full-time.
We recently caught up with “The Judge” to discuss his upcoming fight.
UWF Interview – Ray “The Judge” Rodriguez (Brazilian Top Team)
Ray give us a little background on how you became to be a fighter and what motivates you to compete in this sport.
I first started training about six years ago in Europe through the Army Combatives Program and through local gyms in Belgium and Holland. I still remember my first training session; I was training with a legend in the Belgium circuit. I remember telling him that I had trained a little back where I was from (which couldn’t be further from the truth) I have never taken a butt whoopin’ like I did that day, but the more I went the less intense the whoopings were until I started holding my own. From that point on I was hooked and have been an avid mix martial artist since. I think the challenge of becoming a little better every day is my biggest motivation in this sport. I know that there will always be someone out there who is training just as hard if not harder than me and I want to know that when I meet that person in the cage that I’m going to have step up my game, dig deep and be ready for a war.
You last competed in San Antonio’s PCG organization and ended your amateur career with abang. How would you sum up that stage of your career? What’s the most important lesson learned?
Being an amateur in mixed martial arts is an important part of the learning process. It can sometimes be very frustrating with fighters constantly pulling out of cards but it is definitely a must if you want to reach the pinnacle of the sport. I see too many fighters jumping to the pro circuit after one ammy fight and their lack of experience always shows when they get in there. The most important thing that I’ve learned as an amateur is to always stay humble. It is too easy to let success go to your head but as I stated before there are always going to be fighters who are training as hard as you and you need to train for every fight like it is your last.
What’s been your highlight moment so far?
I think my title fight in San Antonio against Josh Rios, It was the first time the venue had been sold out in history and it was loud that night. I knew Rios was a ground specialist and had a nice double leg takedown, I saw him going for it and I capitalized with was supposed to be a flying head kick but just so happened that my knee landed instead. At this point of my career that would definitely have to be my highlight moment.
How does it feel to finally be going pro?
It’s the best feeling in the world and has been a long time coming. I recently separated from the military and have been blessed to have the opportunity to be a full time athlete. I train about 6 hours a day, and have never been as confident going into a fight.
Speaking of which, you recently moved to San Antonio. What’s that transition been like for you?
It’s truly been different from what I was accustomed to being in the army. I have a lot of family support out here and it really helps with me being able to train full time.
How do you like your new camp over at Brazilian Top Team? Are you training anywhere else?
I have had a really good training camp leading up to this fight, I’m training at Brazilian Top Team Texas for BJJ and MMA, Ramos boxing team for standup and The Muscle Factory for strength and conditioning. All of my coaches push me hard and make sure I get a little better every day. I have never sparred as much as I have for this camp, I’m averaging close to 20 quality rounds a week in boxing and MMA.
How does it feel to be debuting at UWF?
I have heard nothing but good things about UWF. Oscar does a great job in promoting his shows, and definitely puts his fighters first which is a rare attribute in this sport.
What can the Corpus fans expect from you this Saturday?
I try to put on a show regardless of whom or where I’m fighting, I could fight Bob Sapp on the moon and still try to put on a firework display. I consider myself a fan pleaser and try to make sure the fans get their money’s worth every time they see me fight.
What do you know about your opponent Daniel Lucas? Any predictions?
I don’t know too much about this guy being that there isn’t too much video on him. What I do know is that I’m training my butt off and plan on imposing my will where ever the fight goes.
Any last words before the fight?
I would like to thank all of my friends, family, team and sponsors for supporting me in pursuing my dream. I couldn’t do it without you guys. Also big thanks to Mike Calimbas and TXMMA.