Roger Huerta’s decision to leave the UFC over one year ago to pursue a film career among other ventures presented the feeling that he no longer had the will to fight. That fighter’s mentality that is necessary to compete in the sport.
After three rounds with Gray Maynard at Ultimate Fight Night 19, Huerta showed that though he may be indecisive on his career path, he still has the heart, skill, and, apparently, the pain tolerance to compete at the highest level of mixed martial arts.
Regardless of what Cecil Peoples will tell you, Huerta won the first round through the use of solid combinations (a set of which even stunned Maynard fairly badly), along with incredible takedown defense against one of the best and biggest wrestlers in the division.
Unfortunately, fatigue caught him in the second and third round as his takedown defense was not enough against Maynard’s wrestling.
Yet the true moment that belonged to Roger Huerta in that fight was in the third round. Maynard had stuck Huerta to the mat, and even he was unable to scramble out of it. Maynard worked for a kimura, and it looked like a very good one.
With tremendous amount of torque put forth on his shoulder and arm, Huerta continued to remain calm. He quite simply refused to quit. Maynard let it go, and several minutes later the fight had ended.
Huerta came up short on the judges’ scorecards, though one judge saw it fit to give him the victory due to the close second round.
This was Huerta’s first bout since August of 2008, a fight he lost to former number one contender Kenny Florian. After the fight, Huerta announced his indefinite hiatus from mixed martial arts and the UFC to pursue a career on the silver screen.
The irony of the matter is that the Hollywood movies about the man who came from humble roots to success and stardom mirrors Huerta’s life in an uncanny way.
Spending several years of his life on the streets due to a tragic fallout of his family, Huerta stayed in school and became involved in wrestling. The same person that coached him into the wrestler he is today adopted Huerta when Roger reached the age of 19.
Shortly after, Huerta became involved in mixed martial arts, participating in his first fight on Aug. 2 of 2003. Working his way through lower echelon organizations and promotions, Huerta rose to a career in the UFC.
After two victories inside the octagon, Huerta took on a bout with Leonard Garcia. Sports Illustrated was looking to have a mixed martial artist featured on the cover of one of their magazines, believing Randy Couture was the man for the job.
However, after three rounds of non-stop excitement and a tremendous photograph of Huerta in action, Sports Illustrated decided to give the boy from humble beginnings a place on the front of one of their magazines.
Since that day, Huerta managed to win three more fights, along with gaining the support of fans worldwide, who were sad to see him walk away with such a promising future ahead of him.
Yet, he stepped back into the octagon last evening with the same ability and desire to win that all of his fans had grown so accustomed to, as he showed the kind of heart it takes to be a fighter.
While he may have came up on the short end a decision, Huerta came to fight, and showed no signs that he could not compete with the best in the lightweight division. He was able to strike well, utilize kicks, and avoid an almost sure submission.
Roger Huerta may go on to a career in the movie industry, or move on to another profession he finds more passion in. Just know that on the night of Sept. 16, 2009, Roger Huerta’s heart was as visible as the tribal tattoo running down his left arm.