Raul Rosas Jr. Becomes Youngest Fighter to Ever Sign UFC Contract at Age 17

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 21, 2022

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 19: Raul Rosas Jr. poses on the scale during Dana White's Contender series season six, week nine weigh-in at Palace Station on September 19, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Raul Rosas Jr. (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Raul Rosas Jr. became the youngest fighter in history to sign a UFC contract when the 17-year-old inked a deal after competing in Dana White's Contender Series.

ESPN's Marc Raimondi reported White, the UFC's longtime president, offered Rosas a contract after his victory over 25-year-old Mando Gutierrez on Tuesday night.

"I've never seen anything like it," White said about Rosas' performance at his age. "Not only that, the amount of fighters blowing me up saying you're crazy not to [sign him]. ... He's absolutely, positively talented. He's special, he's different."

Rosas, who improved his pro record to 6-0 with Tuesday's victory, said the UFC offer didn't come as a surprise.

"I knew I was gonna get that contract," he said. "I've been saying it since the beginning. Since I was born, I knew this was gonna happen."

The California native is likely to set a new record for the youngest fighter to take part in an official UFC fight. The mark is currently held by Dan Lauzon at 18 years, 198 days, per Raimondi.

Rosas, who will turn 18 on Oct. 8, currently competes in the bantamweight division, and he's already set his sights on Aljamain Sterling's championship.

"Everybody shouldn't be surprised," he said. "I'm the new king in here, so I'm coming for that belt now. ... I'm gonna be champion when I'm 20. Respect to everybody, but I'm gonna be champion when I'm 20, or even earlier. Nobody is gonna stop me."

The current record for a title-holder is Jon Jones at 23 years and eight months, giving "El Nino Problema" over five years to set a new standard.

Rosas beat Gutierrez by unanimous decision after three rounds on Tuesday night. It was the first time as a pro that one of his bouts went the distance. He'd previously scored four wins by submission and one by knockout.

The rapidly rising star also went 6-0 in the amateur ranks with four submissions and two wins by one-round unanimous decision.

So he's yet to get seriously tested during his ascent to the sport's top promotion. That'll likely change quickly as he tries to assert himself in the bantamweight division at such a young age.

That said, Rosas has so far looked like the real deal every step of the way during his budding MMA career.