Well CFFC 66 is in the books and what a night it was! We saw Jonavin Webb gain yet another impressive CFFC win, Shawn Teed get another submission win and what should be the biggest win of the night, Ricky Bandejas capture the CFFC Bantamweight Title! Today we are very lucky to get the chance to sit down with the NEW CHAMP! Ricky is a guy we have had our eye on for a long time and has amassed 9-1 record and quickly becoming a star in the MMA world. So it is time to get to know the man behind the strap, before you get going make sure to get over to all social media and follow him @rickybandejas.
Hey Ricky… or should be say champ!!! How awesome is it to hear that?? Before we jump in head first, tell us how it is being the champion of a great organization like the CFFC?
Bandejas: Hey thank you for having me! It’s definitely an accomplishment and it feels great being they are the top regional promotion out there.
Couldn’t agree more! For our readers that may not know you just yet, talk to us about yourself, how did you get started in the sport, what are your goals and who are some of your role models in the sport?
Bandejas: I’m Ricky Bandejas, I’m a husband/father of 2 girls and 1 on the way. I’m a union worker full time in Northern Jersey. I started MMA when I was 18. I was a late bloomer with wrestling and started that my freshman year of high school. I wanted to continue that and found Nick Catone’s gym shortly after I graduated. My goals in life are just to be a great father, as for MMA I would like to be one of the best bantamweights in the world. My role model would have to be my father, one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met.
Love it man, a blue collar guy who knows how important hard work is. Also, from all of us here congrats on the new addition! Now speaking of the role models and teammates, fellow CFFC champ and a good friend of ours, Sean “Shorty Rock” Santella has been talking about you for a while. When I last spoke to him he said “Ricky is a stud, The kid is good every where and has a crazy gas tank, he is long overdue for a call up to the big show.” What does that mean to you and how has Sean helped you through your career?
Bandejas: It means a lot to me being that Sean has been in the game for so long and has so many fights when it comes to MMA he knows what he’s talking about. As for help he is always around for me to pick his brain and he’s always down to get in some hard grappling and sparing rounds.
Yeah Sean is a great guy in and out of the cage… we don’t know about this whole new food and drink review stuff he has going online but when it comes to MMA there are few better brains to pick! Now you’re sitting at 9-1 and with those wins you have shown knockout power, slick submissions and the ability to go the distance. Talk to us about you as a fighter, your style and how would you describe yourself in and out of the cage?
Bandejas: I would like to believe I’m a hard worker and I try to put 110% in everything I do inside and outside of the cage. As for style I like to come forward and push the pace.
Pushing the pace might being putting it lightly as you look like you run on batteries out there. I haven’t seen you take a step back or slow down since I have been watching you [laughs]. Everyone knows we are huge fans of the CFFC, that last win marked your 10th fight with them. Talk to us about what drew you to that organization, how has your time been and what is your favorite aspect of working with people like Rob, Devon, Burt and Arias?
Bandejas: CFFC looked like a great organization when I first turned pro and my coach Nick Catone suggested we start my career off with them. Every fight they have been awesome to me and always take care of me.
As Sean mentioned “you are overdue for a call up.” Do you feel the same way or do you feel you need to defend this new strap you have? What do you feel you need to do to get that call up?
Bandejas: I believe I belong in the UFC now. I see plenty of guys on that roster that I can easily beat. Either way, if I get the call soon or not I’m just looking to stay active. I’m bound to get there sooner or later. Finishing my future opponents will get me the call faster.
Speaking of people who have your back, I got a chance to catch your Gravely scrap and when you sunk that choke in during the 2nd round your fans went nuts. Talk to us about your fans, what they mean to you and if you could say one thing to them what would it be?
Bandejas: My fans are awesome and the amount of support they show is unreal. I would like to thank them all.
Also, some other huge news as you signed to a pretty big name management company in First Round Management. Talk to us about the process and how excited you are to be repped by the same guys as Jon Jones, Carlos Condit, Bendo and more?
Bandejas: It’s exciting because they only represent the best. By them managing me that must mean something.
That new addition to your waist might say the same thing! Now I got to watch the fight on the stream at CFFC 66 against Giorgi Kudukhashvili where took the win via doctor stoppage. Talk to us about what happened and what sort of emotions you went through?
Bandejas: During the first round, within the first minute or two I knew I needed to wake up. As soon as I did I hurt him bad with a spinning back kick and more punches that landed shortly after. I didn’t know he was hurt until the round ended. I would of liked it to go into the second round. I would of definitely got a KO. Just excited I got the finish and it feels good that all my hard work paid off.
Such an amazing night! Ok man, we know your time is precious but we need to know… Do you carry the belt around with you now? Where was the first place you took it and how hard will it be for future opponents to take that away from you?
Bandejas: Right now my daughters play with it. It’s gonna be extremely hard for anyone to take this from me there definitely gonna have to earn it because I’m only getting better.
NO DOUBT!!!! Ok, before we let you go are there any people or sponsors you would like to mention?
Bandejas: I would like to thank my coach Nick Catone all my teammates from NCMMA. My wife family and fans And every single one of my sponsors that supported me during this fight camp and fight. You guys are all the best!
There you have it fight fans, a young man that could very well be the future of MMA, Ricky Bandejas! Make sure to get on social media and follow him because we know you will be seeing him in the UFC very soon!