‘I Will Be Better’ – Tye Ruotolo Disappointed With Decision Win Over Jozef Chen, Vows Improvements

American BJJ superstar Tye Ruotolo

It wasn’t easy, but reigning ONE Welterweight Submission Grappling World Champion Tye Ruotolo emerged from ONE Fight Night 23: Ok vs. Rasulov on Prime Video with his unblemished ONE record intact.

Last Friday, July 5, in U.S. primetime from Bangkok’s Lumpinee Stadium, the American superstar secured a hard-fought decision win over teenage phenom Jozef Chen in a non-title catchweight submission grappling tilt that had the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world captivated.

Against the highly touted promotional newcomer, Ruotolo employed a powerful wrestling attack and showcased his trademark guard passing in a beautiful display of elite grappling technique. However, despite his best efforts, the Californian was unable to find the submission finish.

While Ruotolo is happy to be leaving Bangkok a winner – his seventh straight victory in ONE – the 21-year old says he’s disappointed in his performance overall:

“I could have performed a lot better. It’s not a performance that I’m very proud of. I didn’t have the best camp, and I didn’t feel the best way going through the fight. It’s the fact that I won even on my worst day – it makes me happy.

“But that’s not a performance that I like to have, especially in a place like Lumpinee. I have so much respect for the people in the audience and the stadium, so I always do my best to give a good show.”

Accustomed to dominating his opponents, the welterweight titleholder is his own worst critic. But by that same token, Ruotolo was quick to credit Chen as a skilled and dangerous foe.

The American said:

“You know, he looks like a nerd online, to be honest with you. But he’s a little bit stronger in person. But yeah, all respect to Jozef. He’s such a good representative of jiu-jitsu. [He has] really amazing technique, and [he’s] a really good kid. I’m really grateful to have the match with him.”

According to Ruotolo, some nagging injuries and illness during training camp prevented him from stepping into the ring at his best.

Still, he didn’t let those setbacks stop him from doing what he needed to do on fight night, and he’s now looking forward to returning home, correcting his mistakes, and getting his body back in prime condition.

He added:

“Just within my camp, I was sick for most of it. And even before the fight, I really was feeling a bit off. I’ve been going through a couple little neck things. It has kind of been affecting a little bit of my nerve, the vagus nerve.

“I really wasn’t feeling great going into the match, but even on all my worst days, I just gotta man up and get it done, and that’s what I did. I’m stoked to get it done, and in my next performance, I will be better. I’m going to go home and get in front of everything that would prevent me from having a great performance in my next one. I’ll perform how I’m supposed to.”

Ruotolo Targets MMA, Pound-For-Pound Greatness

With another victory against one of BJJ’s top talents, Tye Ruotolo continued to move forward on his journey to cementing himself as the greatest submission grappler the sport has ever seen.

That remains his primary goal, but the 21-year old admits that, after watching his twin brother Kade Ruotolo enjoy a successful MMA debut last month at ONE 167, he’s hungry to test himself in the all-around sport.

Ruotolo said:

“I can’t wait to do MMA, you know, I’m so excited to go. I’ve been watching my brother’s last fight, it got me so fired up. It was so rad to see him. We always grew up watching MMA fights, and we always knew that we wanted to be MMA fighters one day, too, not just [become] fighters, but the best. So I’m happy to get this win in jiu-jitsu. One more for the legacy. My legacy is not done. I want to be the best in the world of jiu-jitsu. No questions, no matter what. I know I’m on my way.”

Indeed, as the youngest-ever IBJJF Black Belt World Champion and ONE’s current welterweight submission grappling kingpin, Ruotolo is widely recognized as a pound-for-pound great alongside his twin brother.

Even with MMA on his mind and a potential debut in the near future, Ruotolo says his work in submission grappling isn’t done yet. He added:

“I think right now, we’re probably considered the best, my brother and I, for sure. But I want to be pound-for-pound, the best in the world. So I’m not going to stop until I get to that. But an MMA fight, that’s such a big thing for me, so I’m excited to be a part of the race there too.”

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