Rick Roufus is turning the page in his martial arts career. This former K-1, Kickboxing and Muay Thai champion made the crossover from a striker to a complete mixed martial artist earlier this year and will be heading into his ninth professional mma bout this Saturday night when he faces off with UFC veteran Hector “Sick Dog” Ramirez at The Night of Combat II event in Las Vegas.
This will undoubtedly be the biggest fight of his mixed martial arts career as Roufus will be headlining a card that features notable mixed martial artists Mike Pyle, Jay Hieron, and Brian Gassaway just to name a few. Roufus has been training hard at The Lions Den in Scottsdale, AZ. to prepare himself to put on an exciting show that will have fans and insiders alike buzzing about the sport’s newest force to be reckoned with, Rick “The Jet” Roufus.
PRO MMA: Alright Rick thanks for taking this time with us I know you’re really busy preparing for your fight with Hector “Sick Dog” Ramirez. How are you feeling right now physically?
Rick: I feel great. I feel better than I ever have.
PRO MMA: Now a lot of people know that you’re a six time world champion kickboxer and K-1 champion but have not realized that you’ve crossed over to mixed martial arts. What caused the change?
Rick: Well I think I went as far as I can go in the stand up game and I needed a new challenge in life so I went into mma. My goal is to become the first guy that went from kickboxing, boxing, and muay thai to mma and win titles in everything.
PRO MMA: You started your mixed martial arts career in February of this year and this will be your 8th professional fight. Do you have a certain sense of urgency to accomplish your goals in MMA or are you just trying to stay active.
Rick: Just trying to stay active. I’ve had a couple losses along the way. You know I’m not the kind of guy that backs down from any challenge and I love to fight. I had fought Maurice Smith first and then I racked up some wins and I ran into a guy that was a brown belt in jiu-jitsu, last minute cancellation so I wasn’t anticipating that but it happens, it’s part of the game.
PRO MMA: Who are you training with down at the Lion’s Den for this fight and how’s training been going?
Rick: Right now I’m training out of the Lions Den in Scottsdale. I’m training with Joe Riggs, he’s been working with me every day. I’m also working with Edwin Dewees, a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt that’s teaching here that goes by the name of Carlos Frias, and a bunch of guys that wrestle for ASU, a guy named Spangler and Kenny Lester, an all American.
PRO MMA: Since your striking is obviously well above most mma fighters level do you spend a great deal of your time working submission and takedown defense?
Rick: Oh yeah, absolutely.
PRO MMA: What do you know about Hector Ramirez and how do you feel you guys match up?
Rick: From what I understand he’s a banger, you know, he likes to strike and when it goes to the mat he’s a wrestler so he’s a well rounded guy.
PRO MMA: Do you feel with a win over a recognizable name in Hector will force a lot of people to take notice and propel you towards some even bigger fights down the road?
Rick: Absolutely! I’m ready to go to the next level. A lot of people think my heyday was with K-1…but there’s so much that goes on behind the scenes that people don’t realize that sometimes you feel like as a fighter they put a quarter in you and you have to fight. Whatever day they feel like calling you they call you, it’s a lot of mind games so it affects you a lot in your psyche and your performance. So right now I feel like I’m back in my twenties, you know, I feel great. I’m training just as hard as all these young guys. I’m hungry, I’m really excited for this opportunity and I really enjoy training day in day out with these guys and learning each thing.
PRO MMA: So are you completely retired from kickboxing competition or do you think there is a chance of you returning to K-1 at some point?
Rick: Nah, I don’t think there is. I’m just focusing on mma and really enjoying it. I moved Roufus Kickboxing Center which is great for me and it’s just a great all around situation for me. I have everything I want right here in this gym.
PRO MMA: Thanks for your time Rick, is there anyone you’d like to thank before I let you go?
Rick: I just want to thank The Lions Den AZ. from Scott Peters, Jonas, Ash to Paris, I want to thank those guys for all their time and help and helping me coordinate this camp and all of their support, they’ve been really, really good.
PRO MMA: Alright Rick, thanks for your time and the best of luck on your fight!
Rick: Alright buddy, I appreciate it, thank you much!
Rick Roufus will be one half of the main event fight at “A NIGHT OF COMBAT II” live at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday, October 11, 2008. Doors will open at 5:00 pm with an autograph signing until 6:00 pm on the concourse level. The first of 9 MMA bouts will start at 6:00 pm. Tickets start at just $18 and are available at UNLVtickets.com. The entire event is due to air on HDNet next week (10-17-08) for those that can’t make it to the live show.
Here’s the audio interview with Rick Roufus: