Jesse Ronson tests skills with Rafa Garcia at UFC Vegas 51 on April 16th.
I spoke with Ronson ahead of this Octagon return and excerpts from our chat are below.
How Ronson is feeling heading into this return bout
“There’s a lot of pent-up aggression and rage. I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities having to sit on the sidelines for twenty months. So I’ve been preparing hard because I’ve got 20 months of fighting to make up. I want to fight as much as I can this year. So I gotta make quick work of Rafa Garcia.”
If there’s a pronounced sense of relief having the USADA suspension saga behind him
“It was a very fucking dark time because I’ve been against that stuff. I’ve been very vocal in the past about people who’ve used it. So I felt like such a huge idiot when it happened to me. I was like, oh my god. Especially because I didn’t purposely do it. So it’s like, how do I prove it? People don’t care. The haters are still gonna hate whether you could prove it or not.”
“It’s just like, well, what the fuck? There are just people out there that just love to watch the world burn. And they get under your skin after a while. It was just super annoying and like I said, when it happened to me, it put me in a very dark place. I contemplated just fucking ending everything. My life, my career, whatever. It was a dark 10 days and I was just like, Fuck this. I’ve overcome a lot of shit in my life and I persevere. I’m gonna overcome this and I’m gonna come back even stronger.”
“It just makes my story more movie-esque. It can really inspire people and I’ve had a lot of people message me recently being like, it’s super inspiring how you just never gave up. You’ve had one of the hardest, if not the hardest roads for a fighting career ever. You still haven’t given up, you’re still trying to pursue that dream, and make it work.”
Jesse Ronson vs Rafa Garcia
Who Ronson has been working with ahead of this Octagon return
“We’ve got a lot of guys at Adrenaline that I can just pick and choose from. The length that I’ve been in this sport, I can look at a guy and I can go alright. He may be one-dimensional, he may be a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu dude. But he’s the same build, he’s the same reach, the same height as this guy. Like I can use this guy for looks and to try techniques. Same with wrestlers. Same with strikers, right. I can get decent work and decent training out of anybody. Then when I put it together, it just works out really, really well.”
“Yeah, I recently just reached out to Zack Powell. I’m gonna go spar with him Saturday at BTC for the next couple of weeks because he’s a young guy. Five and one, six and one go-getter, likes to put on a lot of pressure. He looks like he could be a very useful individual for my fight coming up. So I’m getting my last three sparring sessions in with Zack Powell. So I’m looking forward to that.”
UFC Vegas 51
The similar stylistic proclivities between Rafa Garcia and Ronson’s training partner Zack Powell
“That’s exactly it. Zacky Powell is just hungry, and he wants it. It’s not like I’m going in there to fucking destroy somebody. He’s gonna give me some really good work. He seems like a really good training partner. A guy I can trust not to fucking hurt me. Because there’s so many people out there. They’re like, Oh, you’re in the UFC. Oh, you’re this guy. I know who you are. They’re absolute dickheads when it comes to training.”
“They just try to beat you and take advantage of every little thing that they can. Just so they can be like oh I beat up Jesse Ronson, the UFC. I belong there. It’s like, I don’t need guys like that. I had a good conversation with Zack, and he’s down to get some good work in. Like you said, he’s a tough grindy guy. Willing to stay in my face just like Rafa Garcia.”
“Now, will Zack Powell bomb over hands and left hooks and look for high crotches on me? Sure, I don’t care what he does. He’s just shorter than me. So he’s like 5’8, 5’9 but like I said, a tough, strong wrestler. He’s got a great coach in (Chris) Prickett. So it’s like he can do everything that Rafa Garcia can and more. So I’m looking forward to it. It’s just going to be great work.”
Parting thoughts for Jesse Ronson
“As we’re parting thoughts, training is going well. I’m uninjured and haven’t had to take any time off with minor injuries or anything like that. I’m eating more, I love it. Weight’s low, I’m fucking jacked and ripped and strong.”
“I gotta thank my gym Adrenaline, Diablo Boxing, Adam Hickson. Andrew Elliot, Brad Fowler, Jesse Gough, my training partners Patrick MacInnis…Zack Powell coming up. Everybody else that’s helped me. A lot of people have come out of the woodwork to help me. But then there’s also been people that I’ve reached out to ask for help that I thought would help me.”
“They’re just little bitches and always come up with excuses. Or they’re like, oh, it’s not a priority of mine to help you. Alright, cool. Well, don’t say that you’re a fighter or you’re savage. But like I said, a lot of people have come out to help me. A lot of people I thought would help me wouldn’t. So you get to see people’s true colors and I’m just looking forward to fight finally, April 16th.”
I’ve been enamored with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I’ve hosted MMA talk shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, and more. I’ve been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC as well as BTC and have done play by play commentary on live pay per view on GFL as well as FITE TV. I’ve provided written, audio, and video content covering some of the biggest MMA promotions like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage. I’ve worked as a sports entertainment personality for over five years and given play-by-play or featured promotions of KSW, ONE Championship, TKO, and Invicta FC. My work can be found in the USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, and Liberty Multimedia.