‘I Love Fighting’ – Submission Grappling King Kade Ruotolo Feels In His Element Ahead Of MMA Debut

Kade Ruotolo Francisco Lo ONE Fight Night 21 57

Reigning ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Champion Kade Ruotolo will soon step into the Circle as a professional mixed martial artist for the first time.

On June 7, live in U.S. primetime at ONE 167: Tawanchai vs. Nattawut II on Prime Video, the American phenom will make his highly anticipated MMA debut against Hawaiian slugger Blake Cooper.

That battle will go down at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand, and is sure to draw the attention of both submission grappling and MMA fans.

At just 21 years old, Ruotolo has already established himself as arguably the top pound-for-pound grappler on the planet. In addition to his undefeated ONE Championship record and the 26 pounds of ONE gold, he is the youngest-ever ADCC World Champion.

But as much as he loves Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the Californian can’t wait to test himself in the all-around sport of MMA.

He spoke to onefc.com about why he’s so excited to lace up the 4-ounce gloves and throw down:

“Oh man, it’s a whole different world, that’s for sure. I’ve been falling in love with it more and more every single day, though. It’s something new. It’s exhilarating. Not that jiu-jitsu isn’t. I love jiu-jitsu, my adrenaline is always pumping, but it’s a different type of exhilarating. It’s hard to almost explain it. I’m just extremely excited and excited to show the world what I can do.”

In the world of submission grappling, Ruotolo is an electrifying offensive dynamo, known for his relentless aggression and creative submission-hunting.

Against Cooper, he hopes to showcase that same entertaining style of fighting.

Of course, he wants to get the win inside the distance, but his ultimate goal is to excite the fans in Bangkok and those watching in more than 190 countries around the world:

“I want to give a show. I want to have fun out there. Obviously, I want to get the finish, and I truly believe that I will get that finish. Just like my jiu-jitsu matches, I want there to be more of a reason than just the win for people to watch my matches. I want people to be excited, to be wowed, and I want to entertain. That’s the goal on June 7.”

After reaching the top of the mountain in submission grappling, it’s clear that Ruotolo has all the tools and skills needed to find the same type of success in MMA.

But beyond his world-class grappling chops, he possesses one key trait that sets him apart from many BJJ competitors transitioning to MMA – the desire to go to war:

“I love fighting. In the most honest way possible. I don’t know why, but I love it. There’s something about it.”

Kade Ruotolo Confident That His BJJ Style Will Translate To MMA

As he prepares for Blake Cooper at ONE 167, Kade Ruotolo has made some changes to his training, incorporating striking and MMA practices alongside his BJJ work.

With the help of respected MMA coaches Erik Paulsen and Tyler Wombles, the lightweight submission grappling king has found the transition relatively smooth.

Kade believes that he and his brother – current ONE Welterweight Submission Grappling World Champion Tye Ruotolo – have grappling styles and ruthless mindsets that are tailor-made for MMA:

“In the most humble way possible, I believe our style is the best for that transition [to MMA]. We pride ourselves on having solid wrestling. We love our wrestling. We throw submissions out from many different positions, kind of spontaneous submissions, solid wrestling, and our forward pressure and just aggression in jiu-jitsu translates very well to MMA, as well.

“We’re nice outside the ring. We try to be super mellow, good vibes, but when we step in the ring, all that goes out the window.”

Above all, Ruotolo feels that a lifetime of scraps with his twin brother – whether no-time-limit grappling matches or full-on fistfights – has prepared him for the realities of MMA:

“I just know I will not have a fight tougher than what I’ve gone through with my brother. I don’t think it’s possible. I don’t know if it’s humanly possible. My brother and I have done what we’ve done our entire lives. Building that mental strength. I don’t think a lot of people are prepared to go those lengths.”

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