Josh Ricci

Josh “Ruthless” Ricci is looking to put his frustrating year behind him and prove he belongs in the UFC after a win at CES 53

Mixed Martial Arts was something Josh Ricci always wanted to try. He wanted to know what it was like to practice it and to compete. So when he was sixteen and saw a commercial about an MMA gym in his area he ran over to try it. Little did he know that eight years later, at 24 years old, he would be undefeated and one of the top flyweight prospects in New York.

“All I wanted to do was one fight, that was my goal and I’m done, one fight. I did one fight and I was hooked man, and I was like let me do one more, let me do one more, and it just kinda grew and I was like I have a chance to turn pro at this. I turned pro and didn’t look back.”

The 24-year-old certainly hasn’t looked back. “Ruthless” Ricci went 6-3 as an amateur and is currently 4-0 as a professional. Now, he will return to CES to take on fellow experienced flyweight John Lopez (9-4) on November 2nd at CES 53. In the battle of the undefeated, that zero in the loss column means a lot to Ricci.

“It means the world, my goal is start my MMA career is to start 5-0, 6-0, 7-0, 8-0. I want to be 8-0 and, in the UFC, Bellator, those are my goals.”

It’s because of those goals, he fights, because he wouldn’t be doing this if he didn’t believe he couldn’t.

“When I decided to fight I set big goals. If I didn’t feel like I had a chance, I honestly wouldn’t be doing the sport.”

The big goals have been created because of his love for hard work and dedication to his training. Besides being a hard worker, Ricci is known to show no mercy in the gym no matter how big his opponent was, which is how he got his nickname, Ruthless.

“I was tiny, I was 16 or 17, I was 120/125 pounds, I was tiny. I was going with all these bigger guys wrestling and grappling and I was doing good, and he (first ever coach) goes man, you’re mean, you’re ruthless. And honestly It kinda stuck.”

It’s the competitiveness that helps him make the switch from a laid-back person to Ruthless.

“I hate to lose and that’s the biggest thing.”

Losing hasn’t been a problem so far for Ricci, but getting fights has been. For the past year, five fights have fallen through for the upstate New York native. In May, Ricci was supposed to fight at CES NY but he wasn’t able to get his medicals in time so he was switched to CES 50 in June. However, his frustrating year continued when he became injured and had to pull out of the fight.

“This has been the most frustrating year of my entire life.”

Now about four months since his last fight was booked and over a year since he has stepped into a cage, Ricci is letting go of his frustration and trying to start with a fresh mind set.

“I’m looking forward, I’m not looking back.”

“I’m just looking at it as a fresh start.”

Looking forward he is, Ricci has a fight booked and it will be his toughest fight yet. He is facing Connecticut’s John Lopez who has a record of 9-4 at CES 53 on November 2. Ricci says he is in a good place now and November was when he was aiming to have another fight.

“Before I talked to CES again, November was my ideal date and they contacted me and it seems like it’s perfect, like it’s meant to be.”

Though Lopez has more time in the cage then Ricci, he believes he has enough experience of his own and his will to win is enough to overcome Lopez’s cage experience.

“I have a lot of experience of competing, my amateur level and other sports. I know how to compete and I know how to compete and I know how to win. I think that plays a really important role.”

Ricci also thinks the matchup is a favorable one and he predicts it will be one of the more entertaining fights. He doesn’t think it will take place only on the ground or the feet, but a true mixture of the two.

“I see it going everywhere this fight, we’re both well-rounded and we’re both good fighters.”

He also sees a finish coming his way.

“I want to finish him, it’s going to end in a finish and me getting my hand raised. You know whether TKO, submission or knockout, I’m coming.”

After this fight he expects to be busy, fighting every three months. Ricci believes it’s his time to make a run to the UFC.

“I want to prove I belong in the next level, in the UFC. I belong there and I know I do.”