Charles Rosa has been fighting in the UFC since making his professional debut in October 2014. A jiu-jitsu blackbelt, Rosa (14-7-0) is a threat to submit his opponent at any time, as evidenced by his eight career victories by tap-out. The issue for the lightweight veteran, however, has been a lack of consistency, struggling to put together consecutive victories to make a push for a belt.
Fresh off of a new contract, Rosa’s next fight will be against Nathaniel Wood on July 23, 2022, as the promotion returns to London, England for the second time this year at UFC London: Blaydes vs Aspinall. With just four weeks left in camp before the bout, Rosa sat down with All Access MMA’s Ryan Jarrell to talk about playing the villain role in London (Wood is a native of the city), his refreshed approach to the sport, training recovery, and new recipes.
“Yeah, I do a lot. I try to do something every day. I think I heard someone like LeBron James or someone – probably the only thing I’ve ever learned from him – is he tries to spend as much time as he does training on recovery. Even though I’m not able to do that, I try to at least, you know, get a lot of recovery.
I try to do something every day. I probably get two or three massages a week. I’ve got acupuncture zen, which is – this guy Tony Wilcox has a recovery bed and he does acupuncture, and I’ve got a chiropractor, Jack Hoffman, my buddy. I go down and see him. Yeah, so every day I do something. I do chiropractor, acupuncture, massage, or I just go for a swim on my own. I go snorkeling and just kinda like stretch my muscles or do yoga. So I’m always doing something to keep my body fresh because I think that’s an important aspect and that’s why I’m still able to be in top shape doing what I’m doing now.”
Charles Rosa on Playing the Villain at UFC London, Fighting a Guy From There?
“Man, I’ve been there before. I did it when I fought Yair Rodriguez in Mexico City. So, you know what I’m saying, man? This is what I love, and this is what I feed off of. I feed off of the energy whether it’s good energy or it’s bad energy. You know, I’m undefeated in Boston. I’ve got the most all-time wins in Boston. Three-times sold-out arenas in TD Boston Garden, you know, where they have the Celtics and the Boston Bruins banners hanging from the Garden. Man, I’ve got the most all-time wins there, and the energy there is amazing. And obviously, that’s energy on my side.
And then, you know, I’ve been at the away games. I’ve fought in Europe before. Stockholm, Sweden when I fought Dennis Siver in my UFC debut, and I earned Fight of the Night. At first, the fans were yelling and booing me, but by the end of the fight, they were chanting my name. That’s usually how it goes when I fight.”
Charles Rosa On the Challenge of Facing TJ Brown On Short Notice
“Yeah, I don’t know if they’re how you say it. But I think you could take any fighter in the UFC and if you put them in on two-days notice… You know everybody tries to stay ready, but, you know, add in the weight cut, add in the stress of the travel, and everything else that goes into it, you know. They called me on a Wednesday night and I fought on a Saturday morning. You know, weigh-in is on Friday. I had to fly to Vegas, which is still like a good six-seven hour flight, you know, and get everything arranged, packed. So it’s definitely not an advantage to me – you know what I’m saying?
I’d love to have that TJ Brown fight back someday, get that fight back fair and square. He was coming off of like a 10-week training camp and I was coming in on two days’ notice. When I ended up winning the third round, it was a close fight, back-and-forth, it could’ve went either way. He stole the decision, but, you know, that’s a fight that I’m sure even with a week’s prepar – Like a week even, is like, at least you can kind of get ready. But two days, you get the phone call, the first thing you’re doing is packing your bags and you’re on a plane, you’re traveling. Then you get there and you’re already at the APEX and you’re waiting for your coaches to arrive. Yeah, I would like to get that one back with a full camp for sure.”
Charles Rosa On Earning the Second Stripe On His Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Belt
“Oh man, that’s always been my silver bullet. I mean, I think that’s what basically got me into the UFC, being able to pull off submissions in big fights. I’ve been exciting, always going for submissions or defending submissions. I’m a scrambler, so jiu-jitsu is definitely something I take a lot of pride in.
Having my black belt under Master Ricardo Liborio under the tutelage of Charles McCarthy who also has his black belt from Ricardo Liborio, and these guys are guys that are mentors to me, guys that have helped build my skills. Being able to use it at the highest level, I’ve pulled off a couple of submissions in the UFC, got a Performance of the Night armbar bonus against Manny Bermudez in Boston, securing the most all-time wins in Boston. This is… jiu-jitsu has been a big part of my game.”
Charles Rosa On New Cooking Dishes He Learned From His New Roommate, Daniel Marcos, A 12-0 Bantamweight From Peru
“I’m the one that cooks, so I show him how to make a lot of stuff. I’m always making like steaks, all different dishes like fish dishes – we live right on the ocean in Florida, so we get some of the fresh fish and shrimp and things like that. One of the things that he made me that I’ve added to the list that we do once a week, is we make fresh ceviche Peruvian style. I always thought ‘There’s no way that it’s going to be any better than any normal ceviche,’ but it’s literally, like, it must be his family’s homemade recipe from Peru. He showed me how to make it, and it’s on point.”
Charles Rosa On the Nathaniel Wood Matchup at UFC London
“I love it, man. A lot of the last guys I’ve been going against are world-class wrestlers – Justin James, Damon Jackson, these guys are good wrestlers and they fight a boring-paced fight. If you go back and watch any of my fights, like, when have you ever seen me in a fight with a guy that’s willing to stand with me, fight with me – really fight with me, I should say, not just try to lay on me – When have you ever seen a bad fight? So you look at like Yair Rodriguez, Shane Burgos, Dennis Siver, guys I’ve all had Fight of the Night with. These guys are willing to fight me, you know, they’re real warriors.
So I look at Nathaniel Wood like that. I think that he’s a tough kid, but he’s also coming up a weight class. You can say, ‘Oh yeah, I’m putting on weight’, and whatever, but you know, he’s 5’6”, he’s much smaller, and he’s moving up a weight class and he’s coming with the big boys, or at least the bigger boys. He’s gonna see why there’s weight classes in fighting. I’m excited to get in there and I know he’s coming off of a couple hand injuries. I’m hopeful he makes the fight and he’s recovered from it, but either way, I’m excited to get back in there. It wouldn’t really matter who it’s against, but Nathaniel Wood’s gonna be the unlucky, unfortunate victim on July 23rd.”
Charles Rosa’s Prediction For His Fight Against Nathaniel Wood
“Oh man, I think I’m going to submit him in the second round. I think if he’s able to withstand the storm in the first round, if he’s able to take the punches and the shots, take him down to the ground and pound. If he keeps it on the feet, then I’ve got a couple of tricks up my sleeve, so we’re going to see what he walks into. I don’t want to give out too much.
I’ve got a six-time Muay Thai champion Gregory Choplin in my corner from France, and he’s one of the top Muay Thai coaches on the planet, and I think he’s really added a lot to my game – elbows, knees, kicks – I think it’s something really dynamic that you’re going to see, so I’m excited to add that in also. One of my wrestling coaches, Matt Wagy, who is an incredible wrestling coach, he trained over at Alpha Male for years, and with Chad Mendes, Lance Palmer, some of the top guys in the world, Clay Guida and Urijah Faber, and he has a lot of their tricks too. If I’m able to combine all of the best man, that’s hopefully how you get the best.”