Roger Huerta: One FC Is the Perfect Place to Rediscover Early Promise
Roger Huerta was the UFC's golden boy, and there was a time when the UFC was looking to build its entire brand around him. He had the looks, he had a way with words and he also fought with the sort of ferocity which is so often lacking from modern MMA fights.
His fights with Clay Guida and Leonard Garcia are two of the more memorable in UFC history, but refusing to renew his contract with the organization and signing with Bellator instead proved to be a bad move.
Had Huerta signed on the dotted line it is doubtful whether he would have been given an opponent of Gray Maynard's calibre in his final fight. Well aware that he was probably headed for pastures new, the UFC decided to give him a serious send-off.
His form since leaving the UFC has been poor, but the only time he has really been outclassed was against Eddie Alvarez; all of his other fights have been close. The statistics don't make for good reading with five losses in six fights, but 21-6-1-1 is still a very respectable record.
I don't think Huerta is a significantly worse fighter than he was when he went 6-0 in the UFC. Having watched most of his recent fights, I think he has maintained a consistent level. I'm sure he rode his luck at times when he won 11 straight fights, and that luck has since deserted him.
He is only 29, he has not taken too much punishment in his career and he remains one of the most entertaining fighters in the MMA world. Huerta could have a very bright future in the sport, but he is going to need to win at One FC 4 on Saturday.
Zorobabel Moreira is One FC's best lightweight, at least until Shinya Aoki makes his debut later this year. If Huerta can beat him, he will find himself sitting somewhere near the top of a division he could conceivably go on to dominate.
One FC has some good talent in that division, and I have enjoyed watching Ole Laursen, Eduard Folayang and Felipe Enomoto recently. But none of those names will scare Huerta, and he would be the favorite against any of them.
The expected influx of Dream fighters could see Aoki, Satoru Kitaoka and Katsunori Kikuno sign for One FC which will make the 70 kg division very competitive indeed. While these Japanese fighters remain in limbo, Moreira and Huerta are competing for number one status.
In the space of a single fight Huerta could snap a three-fight losing streak and establish himself at the best fighter in the most competitive weight class in the biggest promotion in all of Asia. It is a mouthwatering opportunity, and after so many disappointments, he must be desperate to grab with both hands.
MMA thrives on good fights; without them the sport would eventually die. Huerta is guaranteed to provide them.
It would be refreshing to have a champion with such an honest style who sets out to leave it all in the cage every single time he fights.
Physically Huerta is still in his prime, and despite earning good money from fighting and acting, he still seems to have the same hunger to compete. His American adventure looks to be over, but this Saturday could see the start of a whole new chapter for Roger Huerta.
One FC is taking MMA to completely new countries and has been incredibly successful with 10,000 tickets supposedly sold for One FC 4 in Kuala Lumpur. If the people in the crowd at Stadium Negara on Saturday aren't familiar with the sport of MMA, I can't think of a better introduction than a Roger Huerta fight.
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