PRO MMA caught up with Roger “El Matador” Huerta to discuss the latest news regarding his contract with the UFC. The Lightweight star was very confident and determined about his decision, he cleared the air about reports stating he had signed a 5 fight extension, as well as making it clear that he will continue to train as a professional fighter.
PRO MMA: Roger, thank you for joining us today.
HUERTA: No problem.
PRO MMA: It had been originally reported back in early December that you did indeed sign the five fight contract extension. Your manager (Jeff Clark) told me that you did have the contract and had the intent to sign it, but had a change of heart over the holidays. Is that true?
HUERTA: Yeah, that is correct. I had the contract but I was so busy spending time with my friends and family during the holidays. I was down in Austin, Texas hanging out with them. My adoptive family is a pretty big family, my adoptive mother had seven kids of her own. Around that time period I never really paid attention to it or looked at it or anything…around that whole time my friends and family were like “Dude, why don’t you get into acting and modeling..you did the Tekken movie.” I was really really intrigued by that when I participated in that and seeing how much time these actors put into it and how much work they put into it. But, I really couldn’t put too much work into it because I was still doing the fighting thing…but now I realize “I’m young, I’m 25 years old maybe I could do that!” I see Chuck and I see Randy, Chuck is in his upper thirties and Randy is in his mid forties. Even then they didn’t peak in their fighting careers until their thirties. Maybe, if I give fighting some time off and do this movie stuff, hopefully, everything pans out alright.
PRO MMA: Is there any concern about your fight game regressing when you take this time off to pursue your acting career?
HUERTA: I don’t think so, because training and working out and learning in MMA….and basically, training in general, MMA is one of the best things you could ever do, physical wise. Meaning, being well conditioned, being healthy, living a healthy lifestyle…I will continue to do that everyday. You just won’t see me competing.
PRO MMA: So there is no concern that the game my pass you up in a year or two?
HUERTA: Well I hope not. Obviously, the sport is still evolving and everybody keeps evolving with it. Hopefully I will evolve with it and learn things that people will be doing. I will always be a fan of the sport, I’ll keep watching and paying attention. I have really good guys that are around that will be competing and hopefully I get to evolve with it. I’m not really concerned about it. I’ve been fighting forever, since I was in my childhood until now, fighting for everything. I’m thinking about doing other things now
PRO MMA: Ultimately, was there one specific thing that factored into your decision to not re-up with the UFC?
HUERTA: No not really. Just the time apart that I’ve had from fighting and spending time with family and friends. Obviously the movie stuff I figure “I’m only young for so long” and hopefully…obviously I have this kind of look right now and people say “Yeah, your good looking and what not and maybe you should pursue it.” That is one of those things I’m like “Why not? Why not listen to that?” Maybe I can put all my energy and strength and work hard at something that I haven’t accomplished yet
PRO MMA: Roger, Cung Le is going the route that you want to take with acting, he is in “Fighting” and also in “Tekken”. He has always said that while he is making these films if there was a big fight coming up he would put the acting on hold and come back for that big fight. If the UFC presented you with an opportunity for a huge match up in 2010 would you come back for a huge fight?
HUERTA: Well, I still have one fight left with them so I’m still going to honor the last fight on my contract. I think I got until the beginning of December, so whenever they call me to fight my last fight with them, I’m going to honor it. I am going to devote myself to that fight and then hopefully everything goes well with that fight. I will still continue to pursue my career in something else.
PRO MMA: With the acting and modeling career that could grow from this. Could you see yourself ever juggling multiple careers in your life or do you need to be devoted to just one facet of your professional career.
HUERTA: Well, hopefully I get to learn, obviously doing the acting and modeling thing, basically having a niche for that. Like for me, as of now, I’ve worked very hard in fighting. I know what that feels like, I know what to prepare for, I know how to prepare for it, I know what to expect from it. I don’t know that yet in the other industry of making movies and devoting myself into that. I know a bit of it, but I don’t know devoting yourself truly to it. So that’s something that I will do and I can answer that maybe in a couple years from now.
PRO MMA: Do you have anything to say to your fans?
HUERTA: They will see me (fight) in 2009 for sure and to all of them I want to thank everybody that has always supported me in my fighting career and hopefully they will support me in this career change I’m going to make. Advice to everyone out there is follow your dreams, follow what you want to do, follow your gut feeling in anything you want to do. Anything is possible in this world if you dedicate yourself to it and work hard for it.
PRO MMA: Thanks for joining us today, Roger.
HUERTA: Definitely. Thank you