After experiencing some turmoil in his private life, featherweight prospect Joey Ruquet has gotten his life back on track and feels stronger than ever heading into his first bout of 2017.
“I had a little rough patch in my life,” Ruquet told MMAWeekly.com. “I was homeless and my marriage was broken, so I left my gym and left Vegas and went to Florida to regroup and try to fix my marriage and get my life back on track.
“Basically I became me; the old fighter that I was, the hungry fighter, and got re-motivated.”
Ruquet is a firm believer in that if you don’t have your private life settled it can have an adverse effect on your professional career.
“Having your wife and kids can be a distraction sometimes, but you’ve got to stay focused and remember why you’re fighting,” he said. “It’s also a big motivation because I have to provide and this is the career I chose.
“When I go into a fight, I don’t just go to get a win or for honor or all that, I fight to take care of my family, take care of my kids. It’s almost necessary for me to every single time.”
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Having lost his first Combate Americas fight in 2015 to Gustavo Lopez, Ruquet was able to rebound in his next bout with the company last April with a win over Luke Faultersack. The win has earned Ruquet a return with Combate on their Mexico debut this month, which is a big thing for him in multiple ways.
“Combate treats you well and I want to return the favor with a good show,” Ruquet said. “Not showboating or showing off, but showing a great fight, heart and talent.
“My coach, Juan Torres, is from Mexico and was very well well-known there, so going back there representing his name is huge for me.”
On Thursday in Mexico City, Ruquet (3-1) takes on Jose Ceja (4-3) in a main card 145-pound bout at Combate Americas DIEZ, to be broadcasted on UFC Fight Pass and TV Azteca.
“He looks to me to be a brawler,” said Ruquet of Ceja. “He looks like he likes to get in there, swing and bang and get the knockout. My goal is to keep him at distance and let himself tire himself out.
“If the knockout is there, if the submission is there, I’ll take it, but the goal is not to brawl with him. Maybe he’ll burn himself up too much in the first rounds, so in the second round I can take him out.”
With his personal life sorted out, Ruquet is now determined to make the most of his professional opportunities in 2017 and build his stock in multiple weight classes.
“I feel as a fighter that I’ve been overlooked a lot,” Ruquet said. “I have a lot to bring to the table.
“I want to take the Combate 135-pound title, their 145-pound title, and if my manager says it’s okay, take their 155-pound title as well. I feel I have the skillset and the mindset as well to do so. I’m dedicated to this sport, and whatever I say I’m going to do, that’s 100-percent what I’m going to do.”
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