‘I Had So Much Fun’ – Kade Ruotolo Weighs In On Successful MMA Debut At ONE 167

Kade Ruotolo Blake Cooper ONE 167 69

ONE 167: Tawanchai vs. Nattawut II on Prime Video featured one of the most anticipated mixed martial arts debuts in recent memory, as reigning ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Champion Kade Ruotolo laced up the 4-ounce gloves for the first time.

Last Friday in U.S. primetime, the 21-year-old Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu superstar scored a spectacular first-round submission win over hard-hitting Blake Cooper in their lightweight MMA scrap.

Given his incredible grappling credentials, few fans were surprised that Ruotolo was able to secure the submission victory. However, the BJJ black belt also showcased a respectable striking game, happy to exchange on the feet with his more experienced opponent.

That taste of MMA has Ruotolo – who is now likely the best pure grappler in the sport – itching to return to action.

While he’s currently slated to defend his submission grappling gold against Mikey “Darth Rigatoni” Musumeci on September 6 at ONE 168: Denver, he told onefc.com that he’d love to fight again in the all-around sport:

“I’m so urgent to get right back to the MMA realm, to be honest with you. I had so much fun out there tonight. I honestly wanted to go back out and do it again.”

Always striving for excellence, Ruotolo added that he sees room for improvement in his stand-game:

“I feel like, yourself is your biggest critic most of the time. So, I’ve seen a lot of mistakes or just feeling like I made a lot of mistakes on the feet.

“But at the same time, I just got that nervous energy, that nervous debut, and I can’t wait to go show people what I can do on the feet.”

Chatri Sityodtong Gushes Over Ruotolo’s Striking

Kade Ruotolo might be critical of his performance at ONE 167, but ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong was nothing less than impressed.

He said that Ruotolo’s striking – from his kicks to his punches and his transitions between phases of the fight – blew him away.

According to Sityodtong, the young grappling prodigy looked far more experienced in MMA than his 0-0 record would suggest:

“I was very surprised. Most people who are, you know, World Champions and the very best in one discipline, usually show a little bit of stiffness in the other discipline. But Kade looked very smooth.

“His transitions, well some of his kicks were off in terms of timing, but that’s to be expected. But I thought for his MMA debut, it’s probably one of the greatest MMA debuts. He didn’t look like a debutant, that’s for sure.

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