Tony Reid – You recently said that you are a new person, a new fighter and a different animal at this point in your career. The simple question, what’s changed?
Roger Huerta – “My emotions. In the past I have always been an emotional fighter. I let that get to me. Sometimes it has been in my favor but the older I got is hasn’t been in my favor. Now, I am able to control it. I can separate the two. I now rely more on my skills and training than my emotions at this point in my career. That in and of itself will be a huge factor in every fight moving forward.”
TR – You want to go on another run, now in Bellator. What would in mean to be able to climb that mountain one more time and be in line to somehow capture Bellator gold?
RH – “Oh, my God. It would be one hell of a comeback, I tell you what. There was a point there where I thought I wasn’t going to be able to grasp that or climb that mountain. I made a decision last year to give this another go and to fully commit to it. That means everything, I am making this sport my whole life once again. I will try to have that tunnel vision and go after those goals.”
TR – What was it that gave you that renewed focus?
RH – “There are certain things that happen to you in your personal life and that plays a big factor in what you are doing as far as your career. For me, there are a few things that I can’t really mention. I relied back on the one thing that has always dug me out of holes and that is fighting.”
TR – You are coming off a run with ONE Championship where you spent a number of years living in Thailand. What were your takeaways from living in the Far East and in that part of the world?
RH – “I became more diverse. I have a different view on life, a different view on the world. Living there gave that to me. There is a certain way of thinking when you live in the States and living that way. You are not really diversified. You have to diversify your brain. I am 34 years old now. I think different and things have changed.”
TR – What has been the fight of your life to this point in your career?
RH – They have all given me lessons and I have grown from them. More so from my losses though. When I got soccer kicked that definitely put the brakes on things and made me reevaluate life and see where I wanted to head and what I was doing wrong in my career. I would say all of the fights have taught me things.
TR – You had a few conversations with Bellator President Scott Coker about joining the organization. How did it finally come together for you?
RH – “Last year, I called Scott and asked him if he would be interested in having me. They kind of put me on hold. I get it, everyone has their priorities. I wasn’t a priority. I was put on the shelf there for a bit. I was confused. I didn’t know if I was going to sign with Bellator or not. Then I ended up going to Nicaragua to do some teaching, some MMA teaching and enjoy the country. When I got back I put a call in and he said he would get back to me. I was thinking OK, here we go again. I went for a run and when I got back I had some missed calls and some missed emails. Sure enough they were asking if I was in shape, what my weight was and all that stuff. They wanted to know if I wanted to fight Benson Henderson. No money was discussed. I said yes immediately. I couldn’t believe it. Then to make it the main event, to be honest, I was in tears. I was in tears in gratefulness.”
TR – You were the face of MMA with the early Sports Illustrated magazine cover. Do you have any copies at this point?
RH – (Laughs) “I get asked that question. Personally, myself, no I don’t have any copies. My adopted mother has a few. I know my friends have a few but personally, I don’t. It’s just one of those things. I feel like that was luck. I am honored by it but I feel like it was luck. For me to feel like I achieved something, that would be putting gold belts around my waist. That would be achieving something.”