Coming off of two straight losses, bantamweight prospect Jose Ceja was in need of a win in his Combate Americas debut last October should he have hopes of fighting at the international level for any period of time. Thankfully for Ceja, he was able to do just that.
Against Irwin Rivera in a rematch of their March Legacy FC bout, Ceja was able to pick up a first round TKO and get himself back on track in the process.
“Going into that fight, I was looking for payback basically,” Ceja told MMAWeekly.com. “He had beaten me on March 25 for Legacy. Legacy had nominated that for Fight of the Year. Pat Miletich said it was one of the best fights he’d ever seen, so that was a big deal.
“I came up short in that fight. I wanted a rematch. He didn’t want the rematch, but it came up because some fighters backed out on him. I took the (Combate) fight on short notice, trained like an animal, and went in and performed well and did my job.”
For Ceja, getting to fight in Combate in October and returning now for the promotion’s Mexican debut in January is a big step in his career.
“That was very important to me, not only to win (against Rivera) but leave an impression,” said Ceja. “I’ve been wanting to fight in Combate for a while, so it was a dream come true.
“(Combate’s Mexico debut) is historic. It’s going to be on open TV in Mexico, so anybody can watch it, and that’s a big deal. A lot of Mexicans are going to be watching, and me being from Mexican heritage it’s a big deal and is very exciting.”
At Combate Americas DIEZ in Mexico City, Mexico, Ceja (4-3) takes on fellow up and comer Joey Ruquet (3-1) in a 145-pound main card bout on Thursday, broadcast on UFC Fight Pass and TV Azteca.
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“I think he’s a good, traditional, Dutch kickboxer,” Ceja said of Ruquet. “I think I’m more versatile and more evolved than he is. I expect to go in there and be myself and that’s it. He’s perfect for me. He’s a perfect stylistic match-up for me to go in there, look impressive and execute.”
Should he pick up his second Combate win in two bouts, Ceja will shift his attention towards claiming a championship for the company, and maybe even fighting in multiple weight classes if the opportunity arises.
“I want that 135-pound title that they’re putting up,” said Ceja. “I’ll do whatever it takes to get to that title. That’s my definite path that I want to go with Combate, I want those fights.
“I would consider 145 pounds. 135 pounds is my weight class, but I’ve fought at 145 pounds and I’m comfortable at 145 pounds. I like getting wins on bigger guys. I feel it builds more value (for me).”
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