After eight years out of MMA, pro wrestler Jose Rodriguez, best known as Alberto Del Rio during his time in World Wrestling Entertainment, has announced his intention to return to mixed martial arts.
As a guest on The MMA Hour, the 41-year-old Rodriguez stated that he would compete for Combate Americas in 2019. He was a guest on the show along with the CEO of Combate Americas, Campbell McLaren.
“I’m going to jump back in the cage — or in the cage for the first time — because I used to fight in rings in Mexico and in Asia, but never inside the cage,” Del Rio said. “So for 2019, I’m going to be doing that. I’m going to be fighting in the cage for Combate Americas, mi familia, mi casa, and I’m not just saying this because my boss is here and he writes my checks.
“I really love this company as many people know. For the ones that don’t have a clue about this, I’m a very passionate man in everything I do and I have invested my heart in this company because they have invested their heart and money in me. And it’s not just giving something back to the Latins and the company, it’s giving back something to myself.”
Rodriguez (9-5) hasn’t competed since a 2010 loss to Hanshi Yamamoto. His MMA career is probably best known for a one-sided KO loss to Mirko Cro Cop in Pride where he wore a lucha mask during the fight. He officially entered WWE not long after his last MMA fight, and had two stints there before working for Impact Wrestling. He also served as a figurehead president for Combate Americas for a time.
According to him and McLaren, their plans are to compete in Arena Mexico in Mexico City and air the event on PPV. He wants a “big name” opponent, though neither of them said who that might be.
“We don’t know where we’re going to do it, but if we do it in Mexico City — and (to McClaren) I’m not putting any pressure, amigo — hometown advantage, altitude advantage. … We could do it in Arena Ciudad de Mexico in front of 28,000 people. Two years ago, I drew 28,000 people for a pro wrestling show, defending a pro wrestling world title.”