Las Vegas, NV — Flyweight Juancamilo Ronderos had a 100% winning rate prior to his UFC debut.
Back in 2021, Ronderos (4-1), known as “100” in a nod to that winning percentage — yes, he’s in the market for a new nickname these days — took the call up to the big show just hours out from weigh-ins.
“That loss was, I don’t even know how to explain that. It was a 10 hour notice [opportunity], UFC called me at like 11 o’clock on Thursday night, ‘hey can you make weight tomorrow at 9AM,'” Ronderos recalled in an exclusive interview with Cageside Press. “I told them ‘yeah I can totally make weight.'”
Ronderos’ confidence may have been a bit of a front. “I was hung over, I had partied that week, but you’re not going to say no to the UFC. Fighting the number 10 in the world, I was number 69 in the rankings.”
In the end, Ronderos did miss weight, coming in at 128.5lbs, and lost his fight to David Dvorak. However, the opportunity allowed him to get his foot in the door, and the extremely short-notice nature of the fight likely gave him a bit of wiggle room with the promotion.
“It was God-sent, it was a blessing, it was all a dream,” Ronderos said of the experience. “Literally, it didn’t hit me til after I got home. ‘Oh sh*t, you fought in the UFC.'”
“It made me better. I think if I would have won that, my pride would have gone through the roof, and I wouldn’t have grown as a person and as a fighter. So I’m thankful for that loss now. You don’t see that then, but it’s alright.”
There are no regrets, as a result, on Ronderos’ part when it comes to taking that short-notice fight. “None at all. I’m in the UFC, I’ve been in the UFC for two years, they’ve been taking great care of me. And it just made me completely better than if I would have won, I think.”
Ronderos’ sophomore outing in the octagon comes Saturday night at UFC Vegas 69, where he’s paired up with newcomer Clayton Carpenter.
“Definitely a good fighter,” Ronderos said regarding the match-up. “I feel like he’s nothing special per se. We’re all great fighters, every UFC fighter is an amazing fighter, nothing less. Definitely I have to respect his power. I think that I just have to do my own fight, not worry about him at all. Just be in my own head and do what I came here to do, do what I’ve been doing for 15 years and kick ass, man.”
Having missed all of 2022, Ronderos is more concerned about showing off his abilities than with anything Carpenter might do.
“I’m not at all worried about what he has to offer. More about what I have to show to the UFC, because I’ve been out for two years. I tore an arm, this thing, that thing, a whole bunch of things that have kept me from the cage,” he noted. “So I just want to get back in there and enjoy it, have fun, kill it.”
Carpenter, like Ronderos himself prior to his UFC debut, is undefeated heading into that fight. That is a little perk of the match-up, he admitted.
“It will always be sweeter to take somebody’s 0 because I was undefeated at one point. In the back of my head, I still think I am,” said Ronderos. “I was basically sacrificed to the MMA Gods to keep David [Dvorak]’s fight going.”
Watch our full interview with UFC Vegas 69’s Juancamilo Ronderos above.