Raul Rosas Jr. explains important, unexpected sacrifices ahead of debut at UFC 282

LAS VEGAS – Raul Rosas Jr. had to make some unexpected sacrifices ahead of his UFC debut, but he believes they were necessary in order to achieve his goals.

The undefeated 18-year-old bantamweight will make his promotional debut at UFC 282 in the featured prelim against Jay Perrin. The event takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN2 and early prelims on ESPN+.

The Mexico-born Rosas Jr. (6-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) was signed to the UFC after defeating Mando Gutierrez at Dana White’s Contender Series in September. The young prospect has designs on a rapid ascent through the division to become the youngest UFC champion in history.

Perrin (10-6 MMA, 0-2 UFC) mocked his opponent’s goals by stating, “And I want to be Santa Claus.” Before addressing the sacrifices he had to make to debut on the UFC’s stage, Rosas Jr. responded to Perrin, who is seeking the first win of his UFC career as well.

“He would actually do a better job being Santa Claus than being a fighter,” Rosas Jr. told reporters, including MMA Junkie at Wednesday’s media day. “So, after this fight, that dream can come true. His dream of being Santa Claus can come true. He can go ahead and go dress as Santa Claus and go stand outside of the mall and some kids can take pictures with him. … If he wants, he can buy me a gift and bring it to my home.”

When his shot at the UFC became a reality, Rosas Jr. had to make a significant unexpected change. He never thought he would have to leave his regularly scheduled teenage activities like hanging out with friends at high school, but the switch to homeschooling became a necessity.

“I actually didn’t know I was gonna have to make that type of sacrifice,” Rosas Jr. said. “I knew I was going to be in the UFC early around this age, but for some reason, I didn’t think that I was still going to be in high school. Like, that didn’t cross my mind. So yeah, I had to leave school, but I mean, I wish I was still in school, like in regular school. I think that’s pretty fun, you know, like hanging out with friends. … I had to take that away for me to become an even greater fighter than what I am today.”

High school students aren’t often faced with making life-changing career decisions at such a young age. While his friends are filling out college applications or thinking about entering the workforce, Rosas Jr. is in position to compete against the best fighters on the planet.

“I think it’s about how bad I want it,” Rosas Jr. said. “So, I’m willing to do anything. Whatever it takes for me to get whatever I want. So, that’s what it took, so that’s what I had to do. Also, it was hard because when I was in school, I would get invited to parties, after-school parties and stuff, or like hanging out with friends. But, I never had time for all that stuff because I had to be at the gym.

“So yeah, that’s a big sacrifice I had to do. I think about it like sacrifice now, enjoy later. So, after my career, after it’s all said and done, don’t be surprised if you see me f*cking going wild on parties and stuff.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 282.