If anything, Joey Ruquet’s win over Jose Ceja at Combate Americas 10 this past January proved to be easier than he had originally anticipated.
Against a notably difficult opponent and fighting at altitude in Mexico City, Ruquet was anticipating his bout with Ceja to be difficult, but instead he was able to pick up a convincing second round submission win.
“I was under the impression it was going to be a war,” Ruquet told MMAWeekly.com. “(Ceja) was a fights-from-the-heart straight warrior, so I knew it was going to be a battle. I did everything in my power to train extra hard and run at elevation, so I was constantly working at 8,000 feet in air just to be physically and mentally prepared for it.
“I played it a little too calm. The first round I stuck to the game plan and was in calm in there. I got a little too comfortable being on the outside with him and picking him apart. I should have been more aggressive on him. I think I played it smart and still got the W.”
Including the bout with Ceja, Ruquet has fought in MMA only once in nearly two years. And while he had a brief foray into shootboxing in the interim, Ruquet feels his time off was essential to his successful return.
“It was necessary,” said Ruquet. “I was not mentally ready to get a fight. I had a lot of personal issues. Jumping into a fight right after the Ceja fight, I wouldn’t have wanted to lose for a dumb reason. I think this (upcoming) fight happened at a perfect time to where my troubles are in the past and I’m mentally and physically 100-percent.”
On July 27 in Miami, Florida, Ruquet (4-1) returns to Combate to take on Vinnay Pantaleon (1-1) in a main card 135-pound bout.
“He’s a hungry fighter, and he’s seeing this fight as an opportunity to get his foot in the door, which I completely understand, I would take the fight too,” Ruquet said of Pantaleon. “But I don’t think that I’m the right person for him to try to start his career with Combate with. He should have chosen an easier fight.”
Now that he’s back to fighting actively again, Ruquet is looking to make history in Combate by not only winning his first championship with the promotion, but multiple titles.
“I would love to finish my contract with Combate before the year ends and then sign another one,” said Ruquet. “I would love to fight for the title in Combate. I want to take the 135-pound title and then move down and take the 125-pound title, and then I wouldn’t mind going up to 145-pounds and take that title too.”