by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Few divisions in MMA are filling up as quickly as the welterweight division is. With a list of established veterans, champions and contenders who abound in the pound for pound rankings, and a strong crop of youngsters, it could be say the 170lb division is the most stacked in MMA.
Among the talented young fighters making their presence felt in the weightclass is Ross “The Boss” Ebanez of BJ Penn’s MMAA team in Hawaii. At 10-3, Ebanez has battled the gamut of fighters, from local talent; fellow rising stars to established veterans, and has impressed each time out.
Most recently Ross won in dominating fashion over Josh Donahue at Rumble on the Rock 8 this past weekend in Honolulu, Hawaii in just under two minutes. It’s a win that Ebanez is pleased with and a fight he feels he was never in any real trouble at any time.
“The fight between Josh and I went well,” said Ross. “I was told that he was a wrestler with good Jiu-Jitsu, so he tried to take me down, but I did a little sprawl and brawl, got up and wanted to keep it there for a little while. He shot a couple times and didn’t end up taking me down. I just imposed my will, made him stand up and caught him with a couple good shots and put him down. From then on it was just my ground ‘n pound, which is pretty heavy, and took the win.”
Ebanez had originally been slated to face The Ultimate Fighter 2′s Jason Von Flue, but according to Ross, the UFC had other plans for Von Flue. “Yeah they changed about two weeks ago. First I was supposed to fight Jason Von Flue, everything was all set up and it was ready to go when the Rumble was first being put together. But then I guess the UFC stepped in and said he couldn’t fight because he was still under contract and they put him on that Spike TV show, so JD and Rich tried to find me another opponent.”
Ross continued, “I was supposed to fight maybe Shonie Carter but he had a WEC fight the week before ROTR so they didn’t want to take a chance with that. Then they said Brian Gassaway, but I don’t know why that fell through. I guess that Roland Sarria (Rage in the Cage Owner/Promoter) made the call and said he had a fighter that was tough, so I said, ‘let’s do it!”
Throughout Ross’ career it seems that almost every time he’s set to fight he has a change of opponent. While that may cause havoc with some fighters’ training routines, Ebanez refuses to let it effect his preparations.
“Pretty much I prepare for everyone the same,” commented Ross. “It’s been like that for much of my fighting career that I go through several fighter changes. In the beginning when something got set up I’d begin training for a specific someone, but the fight falls through, he gets hurt or doesn’t want to fight, so I go through sometimes six changes of opponent. I don’t really let it bother me anymore, I just go in and train and see what the outcome is from the fight.”
While it’s a testament to how far Ross has come that fighters do not want to face him when they realize the kind of skills he brings to a fight, it can be a hindrance as much as an advantage. As Ebanez explained, “It sometimes works both ways. It does feel good that the word is out, but I still don’t know who takes the fight until last minute.”
Ebanez continued, “That’s pretty much the shittiest part. Even though I’m the person who does the full training for the full training period of the fight, I always get the last minute changes. So when I beat the guy it doesn’t really look good on my point that I beat a person that didn’t have a lot of notice to train. But oh well, that’s the breaks, that’s what’s happening and it does get frustrating.”
Regardless of what happens with opponents, Ebanez’s seems pleased with how his career has progressed so far. “Yeah I’m pretty happy with my career right now. I’m 10-3 and a couple of those losses shouldn’t be a loss. Maybe the Hallman one, yeah I understand that. My first fight, same thing, it was my very first fight and the guy I fought already had six fights, I took the fight to him, it could have gone either way, and I guess the judges looked at it another way.”
While at peace for the most part with his first two losses, it’s his last loss this past November that has Ross uneasy and wanting a rematch. “I had my way with Carlos (Condit) the entire first round of our fight. Until the second round we both went to the ground and him being 6’2″-6’3″ it kind of took my ground game away. Once he got on top of me I had a hard time getting him off. That’s the one person I would like a rematch because I think that fight was clearly in my favor, but he has other things going on for him right now. He just beat Charuto (Renato Verrissimo) real quick and he’s got Frank Trigg now, so good luck to him.”
As for his goals aside from rematching Condit, Ebanez hopes this is the year things open up and he stays busy and garnishes more recognition worldwide. “I’m just hoping I can get bigger fights this year and maybe get in four fights. Being that JD Penn is my manager he can get me some bigger fights or maybe some mainland or international fights, I would love to take some this year. I just train the same way, when they give me an opponent it doesn’t matter who it is. I’m not afraid to fight anyone, just give me time to train for them and we’ll put on a show.”
Ross concluded, “For the fans I want to thank everyone for supporting me and MMA in Hawaii. Looks like this next year MMA is going to be blowing up even bigger, especially in California with them getting their shows going. As for sponsors, I don’t have a lot of those being in Hawaii, but if they want to sponsor me they can contact JD Penn and get us some money [laughs].”