Pumped up and still going strong for the past 17 years, since the start of his professional career, American wrestler Roger Huerta, (born on 20th May 1983 in Los Angeles, California), holds the distinction of being the first mixed martial artist ever to make it to the front cover of leading US sports magazine “Sports Illustrated”. Having started martial arts training from his early childhood, he holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
The first fight of his professional career took place on 2 August 2003 against Jeff Carlson. He then signed up with the UFC in 2006. That very same year, on 23 September, he won his first match in UFC 63 versus Jason Dent via unanimous decision.
He fought in the lightweight division of the UFC accumulating six wins and two losses and later in One Championship with two wins and three losses. At present, he is fighting in the lightweight division of Bellator MMA.
Currently he has scored 24 wins out of his 38 appearances. Presently, he is in Phuket (Thailand), where he’s doubling down, training to achieve his lofty goal of becoming the world’s number one mixed martial artist.
His childhood was extreme and reads off like the finest piece of script for an Oscar-winning movie. When he was six years of age, his father got heavily addicted to drugs and drinking which led to the separation between his parents.
His mother’s anxiety rose to vent her frustration out on him for no fault of his own. She became a nightmare and physically abused him so much that bruises would be seen to cover his entire body.
After his mother lost the legal battle for his custody, Roger was left in his father’s care which would mark the last time he would ever see his mom again.
Things got worse for him as he was now mentally and physically tortured by his stepmother. To earn money, he used to sell picture frames to tourists on the street. For many more years, he lived on the streets surviving by himself and joining a local gang.
His luck and life changed for the better when his friend’s mother obtained legal custody of him. That allowed him to get his life back on track. Alongside the usual study subjects, he showed great enthusiasm for wrestling and got selected for the school’s wrestling team.
Fast-forwarding into his MMA career, his six-consecutive win streak at the UFC came to an end when he lost the title eliminator against Kenny Florian in the year 2008 at UFC 87.
Before that fight his fans had the impression that he could be the ‘next big thing’ in the stacked lightweight division. Due to a contract dispute with the UFC he fought his last fight the following year and then left.
Fighting in the octagon aside, Roger also tried his hand at acting. In the movie “Circle of Pain”, a 2010 direct-to-video release, he performed alongside Frank Mir, Kimbo Slice, and Heath Herring. His debut film was “Tekken” where he played the role of Miguel Caballero Rojo.
In February 2019, Roger Huerta experienced a near-death experience getting severely injured in an accident while riding his Motocross 250. The bike had hit an oil patch and he flew over the handlebars and tumble rolled tearing ligaments in his right shoulder. Just nine months after the accident he got back into action; this time losing his match against Sydney Outlaw at Bellator 234. He is currently spending his time in Thailand as the world battles with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Huerta, also known by the name “El Matador” heaped up quite a bit of damage upon his opponents, so scroll on to witness the impact he has in Roger Huerta: Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)
- Vs. Hayder Hassan – Phoenix FC 4 (Dec. 22, 2017)
- Vs. Adrian Pang – ONE: 49 (Nov. 11, 2016)
- Vs. Christian Holley – ONE FC 19 (Aug. 29, 2014)
- Vs. Leonard Garcia – UFC 69 (April 7, 2007)
- Vs. Chad Hinton – Bellator 13 (April 8, 2010)
This match witnessed the most painful victory of Roger Huerta’s career which he won by DQ after Hassan illegally busted open his head with merciless elbow strikes. The welterweight bout was headlined at Phoenix Fighting Championship 4 that took place at the Dubai World Trade Centre in UAE.
In the first round Hassan started aggressively with a kick towards Roger’s head, but he was quick to get away from it.
At 34 seconds into round two, Roger tried to grapple Hassan’s legs to get him on the ground. Whilst doing so his head was exposed to Hassan who dealt savage elbows on the top of Roger’s head leaving him bleeding. The match was called off at 55 seconds in round two as the referee noted the banned move – illegal elbows on top of the head, thus disqualifying Hassan.
Eyeing each other out like prey, the fighters were locked and loaded, with Roger (33) fighting an opponent six years his senior. At 3 minutes, 24 seconds into round one, “El Matador’s” swinging right-hand pounded the right side of Pang’s neck. Pang retaliated with a punch to his face and another to his stomach.
Going into round two, at 2 minutes 43, Roger takes down his opponent with hammer fists and a hook. In the final round, both the fighters exchange punches and uppercuts until the bell sounds. Roger wins the match via round three split decision.
Roger Huerta took on the undefeated British lightweight Christian Holly in his debut match at Dubai WTC, UAE.
A fierce kick at 24 seconds into round one by Holly was caught by Roger as he fumbled to the ground. For a minute, they scrapped with each other to get the upper hand.
At halfway into round two, Roger unleashed a flurry of lethal knees and incessant jabs to Holly’s head. By 3 minutes, 12 seconds, Roger Huerta was following up this knockout with some solid ground and pound, incessantly rocking the back of his opponent’s head with ruthless jabs and heavy knees as referee Yuji Shimada intervened to call the bout.
This was Roger Huerta’s third match in the Octagon. Throwing punches and kicks at each other, Garcia attempted a guillotine at 40 seconds into round one but Roger fought swiftly out of the hold, punishing him with two quick right-hand jabs to the face.
In the second round, both fighters looked to be in a fierce frame of mind. At 2 minutes 52 seconds, Roger hurled a weighty knee right to the head of Garcia, and then tore him apart with right and left jabs.
In the final moments of round three, Roger took Garcia to the ground and pounded him with his devastating hammer fists and punches. As the match ended, both fighters displayed a genuine gesture of respect toward one another. Roger won the match via third round unanimous decision. This match is ranked at no.33 in the Greatest Lightweight MMA Fight of All Time.
Before this match, Chad Hinton had an unbeatable record with six wins that included three knockouts, and one submission.
A minute and a half into round one, Roger went in for a guillotine choke on Hinton who was grounded as he fumbled during the execution of a high kick.
Chad appeared winded and was gasping for air, breathing via mouth whilst struggling to save his face from Roger’s hammer fists. At 30 seconds into round three, there was a WOW-factor moment as Roger Huerta somersaulted Chad Hinton inside the octagon much to everybody’s delight as Chad tried to grapple Huerta’s back.
Roger manages to lock in an intense kneebar forcing Chad to tap out as the referee intervenes.
This match was ranked at no.54 in the category of “Best MMA Submission of the Year” 2010.