Julio Arce wants to join his Tiger Shulmann teammates on the UFC roster.
His training partners Shane Burgos, Jimmie Rivera and Lyman Good are all currently competing under the UFC banner.
After winning and then losing the 135 lbs. Ring of Combat title, Arce (11-2 MMA, 8-2 ROC) is the current ROC featherweight champion. Being the title holder is one reason why Arce thinks he deserves a chance to join his teammates in the octagon.
“I can go on many reason why I belong in there, two division champion at 135 lbs. and 145 lbs. in one of the top regional promotions,” Arce said. “Golden gloves champion and I could keep going, but I’m just going to keep fighting and show that I belong there. There is always talent out there, but I want to move to the bigger leagues and really prove why I belong there.”
An opportunity to earn a UFC contract came this past Friday for Arce on June 2. UFC President Dana White sat cage side during Ring of Combat 59 at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
In his second title defense at 145 lbs., the 27-year-old champion earned a unanimous decision win against Tim Dooling in the co-main event.
Arce respected Dooling (6-3 MMA, 0-2 ROC), who accepted the challenge on two weeks notice. Arce could feel the presence of the UFC president watching.
“To fight in front of Dana White, knowing he is scouting for the next generation of fighters, it’s a little nerve wracking,” Arce said.
Following the bout, the Queens, New York native had a chance to meet with White.
“I did get a chance to chat with him and I just thanked him for coming to watch us all fight,” Arce said. “Now I am just going to go back to training and work on the things I need to fix.”
And train he will. One of Arce’s main training partners is Mike Trizano, another featherweight who finished Eddie Lenoci via second-round TKO at ROC 59.
Another TSMMA featherweight training alongside Arce is Burgos. He is currently (2-0) inside the octagon and is set to face Godofredo Pepey at UFC Fight Night on July 22.
Arce is unsure of when he will make his octagon debut, but is confident he will. One of the reasons why he feels this way is because of his skills and the people who helped him make it this far.
“Training with these guys makes me better and better and I know I will end up in the same league as them soon,” Arce said. “I don’t know what message I sent him (White) and I just wanted to go in there and win my fight. It doesn’t matter how, I am here to win.”
By NJ MMA News Staff