Dana White signs up 'absolutely special' 17-year-old Raul Rosas Jr to UFC roster

Mexican-born fighter becomes youngest ever to sign with UFC following star showing on 'Dana White's Contender Series' on Wednesday

UFC president Dana White believes 17-year-old MMA prospect Raul Rosas Jr is ready to fight in the promotion now. AFP
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Dana White has described Raul Rosas Jr as “absolutely special” after the 17-year-old became the youngest fighter in UFC history to sign for the promotion.

The young bantamweight stole the show on Dana White’s Contender Series early on Wednesday, when he secured a unanimous decision win against Mando Gutierrez.

White offered Rosas Jr a contract before the conclusion of the show at the UFC Apex, with the teenager promptly accepting.

"I've never seen anything like it," White told reporters afterwards. "Not only that: the amount of fighters blowing me up saying, ‘You're crazy not to [sign him]. He's absolutely, positively talented. He's special. He's different."

Rosas Jr, who doesn’t turn 18 until October 8, dominated 25-year-old Gutierrez throughout, mostly through his impressive grappling. He almost finished his opponent in the first round with a seldom-used Suloev stretch submission.

Rosas Jr, whose professional record reads 6-0, had finished all of his previous opponents. Mexican-born, he fought in the UWC promotion in Tijuana, and trains out of Las Vegas.

"I knew I was going to get that contract," Rosas Jr told reporters after the win. "I've been saying it since the beginning. Since I was born, I knew this was going happen.

"Everybody shouldn't be surprised. I'm the new king in here, so I'm coming for that belt now. I'm going to be champion when I'm 20. Respect to everybody, but I'm going to be champion when I'm 20, or even earlier. Nobody is going to stop me."

White added: “What a war, what a technical fight it was. Both guys pushed themselves as hard as they could. And for a 17-year-old to conduct himself the way he did in this fight, I was blown away by it. Blown away.”

On whether Rosas Jr was too young to compete in the UFC, White said: “Not off what I just saw. After what I just saw, this kid is ready to fight in the UFC.

“I’m very, very impressed with this kid. He’s absolutely special.”

Updated: September 21, 2022, 5:47 AM