The UFC have signed teenager Raul Rosas Jr to make him the youngest fighter in the promotion's history.
At just 17-years-old, the promising bantamweight was awarded a contract on Tuesday night's episode of Dana White's Contender Series after a unanimous decision win over Mando Gutierrez. Rosas Jr broke the previous record set by fellow Contender Series alum Chase Hooper, who was awarded a developmental deal in 2018 at the age of 18.
The Problem Child produced a dominant grappling display over his more experienced opponent to move to 6-0 as a professional, whilst also impressing with UFC chief White with his striking skills.
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All his professional bouts have come in the last 10 months, with five in 2022 alone, having gone 6-0 as an amateur after making his debut aged 15.
Rosas Jr came close to finishing Gutierrez, who is eight years his senior, with an impressive Suloev stretch submission attempt in the first round on his way to the first decision win of his career.
Speaking after receiving his contract, he explained, via the Mirror: "I knew I was gonna get that contract. I've been saying it since the beginning.
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"Since I was born, I knew this was gonna happen. Everybody shouldn't be surprised. I'm the new king in here, so I'm coming for that belt now. I'm gonna be champion when I'm 20."
The teenager still has five years to break the record for youngest UFC champion, which is currently held by Jon Jones after he knocked out Shogun Rua in 2011 to claim the light-heavyweight strap aged 23.
“Everybody is here for a reason in the Contender Series and this is a life-changing opportunity," added Rosas Jr. "I expected him to bring everything and I was trying to get the knockout every second of the fight and I wasn't able to get it, he was a tough guy for hanging in there so props to him. Next time I will get the knockout.”
There was no doubt in White's mind when it came to awarding the youngster a deal after his win, as he admitted: “There was nothing to even discuss. We didn’t even talk about it back there. I’ve never seen anything like it.
"He’s absolutely positively talented, he’s special, he’s different. For a 17-year-old to conduct himself the way he did in this fight, I was blown away by it.
"Blown away. I’m very, very impressed with this kid. He’s absolutely special. The amount of fighters that were blowing me up going, ‘Oh my God. This kid is for real. This kid is legit. Impressive.'”
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