After a Year and a Half on the Sidelines, Jose Ceja is Back with a Vengeance

March 25, 2016

After a strong start to his pro MMA career, bantamweight prospect Jose Ceja hit a bit of a snag and ended up missing over a year and a half before making his return to the sport earlier this year.

“I competed as an amateur boxer and got into amateur MMA, then had three pro fights,” Ceja told “I won my first two, but lost my third, and then I had a layoff and came back earlier this year and won a very decisive victory (over Gerzan Chaw) with a dominant performance.

“I needed to take some time off (between my second and third fights). There was a school I started, and also I tore my ACL, so I had to rehab from that.”

Though he missed nearly two years, Ceja didn’t allow doubt about not returning to fighting creep in. Instead, he used his time as productively as he could and became a better fighter.

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“I never once doubted that I would come back,” said Ceja. “I just wanted to take my time to make sure I was ready (to return).

“I changed my whole game. Teaching grew me and showed me some different perspectives that allowed me to do things differently.”

Now that he’s back, Ceja (3-1) will get a chance to step up in competition when he makes his Legacy FC debut on Friday in Lake Charles, La., against Irwin Rivera (4-1) in a 135-pound co-main event.

“I think it’s the perfect match-up for me,” Ceja said of his bout with Rivera. “It’s going to play right into my game. I’m going to fight a smart fight and be aggressive. I am very confident that I’m going to go in there and do what needs to be done.”

While Ceja is pleased to be making this step up in his career, fighting is not the only thing he’s focused on. In addition to his work inside the cage, he wants to continue to develop and grow his Team Ceja MMA school in 2016.

“I have many goals; some outside of fighting, particularly with teaching; otherwise I just take it fight by fight and see what happens,” he said. “I know for a fact that I’m a much higher caliber fighter than I’ve really had an opportunity to demonstrate. I plan on putting on a good showing (at Legacy).”

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