Bellator 196: “Henderson vs. Huerta” comes to Budapest Sports Arena in Budapest, Hungary, this Friday (April 6, 2018), featuring a main event between two Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) stars of yore looking to improve their fortune in Bellator as Benson Henderson (24-8) takes on “El Matador” Roger Huerta (24-9-1, 1 NC) in Lightweight action.
Underneath these 30-plus fight veterans there’s a young star on the rise who has been anointed as part of Bellator’s “Fab Five” of collegiate wrestlers. He won three national titles while wrestling at Penn State University and returned home to “Happy Valley” last year to score a second round knockout win in front of the Nittany Lion faithful. We are of course speaking about Ed Ruth (4-0).
In today’s interview with MMAmania.com, Ruth starts off by talking about how satisfying it was to return home last year and score a knockout win over a more seasoned and experienced foe.
“It was actually very satisfying. You know, to be able to go home, and to show people that I can put people away on my feet using my boxing alone, you know that was a huge win for me.”
Ruth says he’s still so young in the sport that the fans watching haven’t seen anything yet.
“It’s only the tip of the iceberg. I like to tell people this straight up — my evolution is going to be something that people have never seen before. I just want to bring a whole new dimension to fighting that people have never (seen). Me, personally, I definitely know I can do that and its definitely within my skill set. I’m also always pushing myself to the next level. I’m never satisfied where I’m at. It’s always a big deal for me to prove that not only am I good at this, but I can always get better. I’m always learning, because I’m a student of this sport.”
One thing that doesn’t intimidate Ed Ruth is a more experienced opponent. He relishes facing guys who have been around and done more in mixed martial arts (MMA) than him.
“You know, if anything it made me want to fight him more. Every time people tell me that somebody has more fights I’m like, ‘Okay, that’s the guy I should be fighting.’ If it’s somebody who has only like you know four or five fights, then it’s like, ‘Ehhh, is this really pushing me to the next level?’ Because I want people to see that this is an ongoing thing. Not only am I stepping up to the plate with guys who are now just starting out their debut, but I also step up to the plate against veterans, against people who are doing it right now.”
Ruth will have exactly that opportunity at Bellator 196. He’s fighting seasoned veteran Ion Pascu (17-7) at a Catchweight of 175 pounds. Pascu comes in off back-to-back wins in BAMMA. Up until a few weeks before Budapest, though, Ruth didn’t even know he was on the card.
“I kinda found out about it the same time that everybody else did. You know they saw that I was still in the room, I was still plugging away and still working out, and I guess they were just like, ‘Hey — you want to be on this card?’ I never say no.”
Pack your bags young man, you’re headed to Hungary. It won’t be his first time traveling overseas, though, as he went many times as an amateur wrestler and to Bellator 168 in Florence, Italy.
“Going overseas is just a whole new level of adversity and I had to do a lot of that for wrestling. Every time I went over there something different happened. You can either lose your clothes, or you don’t have your wrestling shoes, or the mats aren’t up to par, or the electricity’s out in the building you’re supposed to be in. You know all that adversity builds a wrestler or builds an athlete into what you really are.”
Ruth enjoys the character building more than the frequent flier miles. For him these are the hidden perks that people don’t account for that make them better competitors.
“There are so many different factors that you have to weigh in when you’re going over there competing. When you’re home you get used being comfortable, getting your full night of sleep, and I feel like when people get spoiled like that and they go overseas and they lose, they’re just not used to that lack of sleep and change in time difference or even the food over there is different. You’re not going to get all the same food that you get here in the U.S. overseas. I like going overseas because it gives me that experience.”
In fact, Ruth’s mentality about losing in general is different from a lot of other fighters. He’s not worried about whether or not he remains undefeated, and it’s not from a lack of confidence in himself.
“I think all fighters should think about their first loss. I think they all should consider it, and consider what they’re going to do after it. I see a lot of fighters that get their momentum train going, and then they take that first lost, and then they’re lost amongst the rest of the sea of fighters. And everybody’s like, ‘Oh what happened to this person?’ I want to win-win-win-win-win, but if there’s a loss in there, I’ll take it! I’ll keep my head held high and I’ll push past that. I’ll show everybody that winning isn’t the only thing that makes me. What makes me is ME.”
Even though he’s from the “Fab Five” and currently undefeated, Ruth relishes the extra attention.
“It actually makes me happy to have that hype. If you don’t have it then nobody knows who you are. The whole point of this sport is to have everybody know who you are. I felt like by me coming in with that whole hype from the ‘Fab Five’ I thought it was a great thing. You know it kind of got me started. It gives you something to feed into. At that point in time when they said, ‘Hey ‘Fab Five’ coming in’ you know I’m like, ‘Wow, I’m a part of that!’ It feels GOOD to be a part of something.”
And at Bellator 196 “Henderson vs. Huerta” he’s part of the main card facing Ion Pascu. Be sure to catch his fight this weekend on Paramount Network. Meanwhile, complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of “Henderson vs. Huerta” resides here at MMAmania.com all week long.
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