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Ray Rodriguez wins first professional title
Ray Rodriguez raises his arms in victory June 28 as former champ Warren Stewart fastens the bantamweight championship belt around his waist. It took Rodriguez just five professional bouts to win his first championship. He will fight again Sept. 13 in San Antonio.
Wilson County NewsJuly 17, 2013 3,258 views 2 comments
AUSTIN -- With just five professional fights under his belt, Floresville native Ray Rodriguez is rapidly making a name for himself in the world of mixed martial arts. And after his most recent battle in the cage, that belt is now gold in color and reads “Champion.”
2013 has been a great year for Ray. He fought in and won his first televised fight back in February, and now has a championship belt around his waist. Ray has a third fight scheduled in September, and believes that with a win there, he may get a shot at another title bout for the Legacy title.
Ray currently fights in the bantamweight division, and his title victory last month came against Warren Stewart -- a 30-fight veteran Ray referred to as “crafty.” Ray admits he lost the first round of his championship fight, and credits his corner for encouraging him to “step it up.” Ray was able to come back strong in the final two rounds of the battle, and took home the hardware with a judges’ decision.
“It was a tall mountain to climb,” Ray said. “We put in the work and we did it. It’s been one of the biggest fights to date.”
“And I got his respect,” Ray added, speaking of Stewart. “It’s amazing how we can go to war for 15 minutes, and then be friends after the fight.”
Stewart even personally fastened the championship belt around Ray’s waist.
To help celebrate his championship with his hometown, Ray will have a meet-and-greet and autograph session in Floresville. The event will be held this Saturday, July 20, from 12 noon until 3 p.m. at the Jet Star Shell station located at the corner of U.S. 181 and S.H. 97.
“I really hope a lot of people come out,” he said. “It will be fun.
“I have to give thanks to Floresville,” Ray added. “I get a lot of support from friends and family. It’s always nice to have people there cheering me on.”
Ray, a former combat instructor in the military, still has the goal of reaching the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), and feels that winning titles is the way to make that happen.
“This is my job. This is what I love to do,” he said. “I train three times a day. It is my passion. This is what I want to do.”
The bantamweight champ isn’t taking things easy now that he has a title, though, and has already shifted his focus to the next fight. Ray will do battle with Corpus Christi native Patrick Ybarra on Friday, Sept. 13, at Cowboys Dancehall in San Antonio.
The fight will be part of Legacy Fighting Championship’s “LFC 23,” and will put Ray in a battle with a fighter who came up in the ranks alongside him. The two have never squared off against each other, as they were in different weight classes, but they are on an even playing field now, and Ray is anxious to lock up with Ybarra.
“I’m really excited for this fight,” he said. “This has been a fight I have wanted to get for years.”
Ray has already had two fights with Legacy Fighting Championship, and feels a good win in September could get him another title shot, perhaps as early as this year. With a Legacy title around his waist, Ray feels he will be just a step away from the UFC.
Saturday, July 20
Jet Star Shell station
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July 22, 2013 2:51pm
Lia C Flores
July 18, 2013 9:55am
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