by Mick Hammond
It’s been a good year for American 155lb standout Roger Huerta. Earlier this year he took the ISKA-MMA Welterweight Championship by defeating Brad Blackburn, now this past weekend he claimed the IFC World Lightweight Championship in front of a hometown crowd in Texas in a win over Lee King.
Huerta raised his overall record to 17-2-1 in convincing fashion, submitting King, a kickboxer by trade, early in the first round to claim his second title in three fights. According to Huerta, Texas MMA rules and his opponent’s style played a big part in how Roger approached the fight.
“First of all, Texas rules have a standing 8-count if you knock the guy down,” Huerta told MMAWeekly. “I’m like, ‘this isn’t boxing,’ so right off the bat my gameplan is I’m not going to deal with this guy standing. Also, after hearing that he was a good kickboxer, I decided I was going to take him down right away and ground ‘n pound him.”
Huerta continued, “So the fight started and we pretty much go in and that’s what happened. We touched gloves and he threw one knee and I admit he got me on the chin. I was able to get the takedown and I drove him against the cage and got the full mount and I was about to start raining punches like I did against Blackburn, but right away he rolled over and gave me his back. I got the rear naked choke and I sunk it in hard right away and got the win.”
Roger had normally fought at 155lbs for most of his career, but due to taking some fights on short notice and school taking away from his training time, he hadn’t had to make the weight in a while, and he felt it this time. “It was quite a thrill (to fight at lightweight), I hadn’t fought down there in a while. It took me quite a bit to get down and I was hurting, but I weighed in at 153lbs.”
The win over King also represented the first time Huerta had fought in front of a hometown crowd in Texas in his nearly 3-year career. According to Roger, having to perform in front of family and friends had him nervous for the first time ever, but thanks to family, he was able to overcome it.
“It was kind of strange and weird to fight in front of all my family and friends,” explained Roger. “It was good though, kind of cool. I was nervous actually and I’ve never been nervous before. It was mainly because I was fighting in front of my hometown crowd. My mom understood I’d be nervous so she came out to Minnesota (where Huerta trains and goes to school) before the fight and calmed me down.”
Now that Huerta has taken yet another title, his future is looking even brighter. When asked what he planned to do throughout the remainder of the year, Huerta said, “Monte (Cox, Huerta’s Manager) and I talked about it before I flew out of Minneapolis and we decided I’m going to take the year off and heal up and finish out this semester of college.”
“He was telling me don’t mess around and finish this kid right away. He asked me if I wanted something else, one more fight before the end of the year, but we decided not to. Basically it’s his choice too, he wants me to take the rest of the year off and heal my knee and shoulder 100% because it’s not worth it fighting injured,” further commented Roger.
Roger then discussed what’s next after he takes time off to heal. “We’ll start it back up next year in January. Monte heard that the UFC is looking to bring back the 155lb division so that’s a possibility now and he’s also trying to get me in Japan at 160lbs.”
Huerta concluded, “I want to thank Sprawl for sponsoring me and Oscorp Construction too. I want to thank Oscar, Mikki, Poncho, Carlos, Dr. Garza, Mrs. King, Alvarez, the McCarthys, my mom and my girlfriend Jessica for coming down. I want to thank Paul Smith, Monte Cox, MMAWeekly, Daryl Guthmiller and the wrestling team for helping me out. Thanks to the fans for their support, and I want them to know I’m taking some time off, but 2006 will be a big year for me; I’m looking forward to beating all the ranked guys.”