At UFC Boston, Charles Rosa will defy the odds, and the doctors, returning to the octagon after a severe neck injury to face fellow New England native Manny Bermudez.
Boston, MA — Charles Rosa is competing in an all-New England showdown again at UFC Boston on Friday, returning to the octagon for the first time in a year and a half. Taking on Manny Bermudez, Rosa (11-3) is no stranger to fighting locals in the UFC. He’s fought Kyle Bochniak in Boston. Sean Soriano, a Rhose Island native, is another former foe.
Now it’s Bermudez, who will be at home in Boston. Rosa himself is from down the road in Peabody, MA. Speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press this week, Rosa called the match-up “a cool, interesting fight. I feel like they keep putting me against New England guys, and taking them out. My other win was against Sean Soriano, who is originally from Providence.”
This particular pairing looks obvious on paper. Bermudez, whose bread and butter is on the ground, has eleven submission wins. When the fight hits the mat, however, Rosa says he’s well prepared. And he doesn’t expect Bermudez to have many options when the ground game doesn’t work out.
“I just feel like he’s a one-trick pony,” he stated at the UFC Boston media day. “I’m a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and I train at American Top Team with the best fighters on the planet. There’s no doubt in the skills.” Rosa works with “guys over from Brazil training my jiu-jitsu every session, then the next I go with guys from the Olympic USA team in wrestling, DI wrestlers from the colleges, then going to boxing with Olympic boxers. There’s no denying that American Top Team has all the tools and all the people that I need, and I get the best looks.”
End result, “I know that if I can hang with those guys, that are specialists in each thing, that there’s no doubt that I’ll be ready for Manny.”
It’s a fight that almost didn’t happen. After suffering a neck injury that forced him off the UFC 220 card in 2018, Rosa was told to call it a career. Only once did he ever consider actually retiring.
“At first, I had that moment when the doctor said ‘you should consider hanging it up.’ That almost bought tears to my eyes when he said that,” said Rosa. “There was silence in the room. I stopped and I said, ‘what’s the other option? He didn’t really say, so I told him what the other option is: ‘I’m going to defy all odds and I’m going to beat this. I’m going to work hard and I’m going to do everything I can possibly do to come back.’ So that’s what I did.”
What he needed to hear is that there was a chance. And there was. “He told me it was improbable, not not impossible. That’s all I needed to hear.”
Watch the full UFC Boston media day press scrum with Charles Rosa above! UFC Boston (UFC on ESPN 6) takes place Friday, October 18 at the TD Garden in Boston, MA.