20 Mar 2017
- By Vicente “Ben” Salas II - firstname.lastname@example.org - Variety News Staff
GUAM mixed martial arts lightweight prospect Jose “The Chief” Ramirez, who carried the moniker “Youngblood” earlier in his fight career, is on a mission.
He seeks redemption when he faces the last man to beat him, fellow rising prospect Frank “The Bulldozer” Meno, in a rematch at Pacific Xtreme Combat 56 this weekend.
Although he grew up on Guam and has been living there throughout his fighting career, Ramirez actually has roots in Saipan. His mother is originally from Saipan, while his father is Mexican from California. He credits his natural toughness and good fighting stock to that combination of Mexican and Chamorro heritage.
Never the one to back down, Ramirez first started training in MMA as a way to channel his aggression from getting challenged to fight in school. He has been competing since 2012and has trained with such prominent Guam MMA gyms as Underworld Extreme/Guahan Top Team, Guam Muay Thai, Ultimate Martial Arts and Steel Athletics/Spike 22. He recently formed his own team, 360 MMA, with close friends.
Ramirez was just on Saipan last week for personal reasons.
However, he also managed to get in some quality training time with friends Kelvin “The Big Hit” Fitial and Shane “Pikaboo” Alvarez, both of whom will also be fighting on the PXC 56 card with him.
Variety caught up with “The Chief” for this edition of One-on-one to ask him what prompted his name change and what his long term fight goals are.
MV: So what’s the story behind your nickname change from “Youngblood” to “The Chief”?
R: They always called me “Youngblood” back when I was training with Underworld Extreme. Alex “Most Hated” Castro—I love that guy—and other top scrappers like Kyle “Boom” Reyes we would always straight bang in training. I switched my fight name to “The Chief” due to my desire to fully represent the Mariana Islands. It’s also a great name for a future champion to have.
MV: What brought you out to Saipan on this trip?
R: I just came out to relax and get away from the partying on Guam. I also came to meet up with a beautiful woman who wants to hold it down with me.
MV: You’ve trained with some of the best gyms in Guam over the years. What prompted you to start up your own team?
R: I started my own gym due to a falling out I had with my previous team. We hashed it out though and we’re good now. I’m doing me, man. No one’s going to tell me I’m going to lose or dictate my future. Not my family, friends, followers or sponsors. But I love everyone—even the haters.
MV: How has training with many different gyms helped you as a fighter?
R: I just absorbed everything they all taught me and learned to put it all together to become a masmetgot (stronger and tougher) mixed martial artist.
MV: Talk about that war you had with your former teammate Pejo Camacho, in the last Preba Hao main event that ended with an exciting decision win for you.
R: Pejo is my friend. Even though I wanted to finish him, I wanted to put on a great show for the fans and show the world I’m not the guy they judge me to be. I also wanted to make a statement in that fight that I’m the uncrowned champ of Guam.
MV: What motivates you to keep fighting and what are some of your long term MMA goals?
R: [I fight for] my son who is my world. But it’s tough because his mom keeps me away from him. My main career goal is to get signed to the UFC and fight Conor McGregor. He talks so much trash, but I think he sucks. Eventually, with the success I achieve, I want to build an MMA gym in Navy Hill where my mom’s family is from.
MV: What words of advice or encouragement do you have for other aspiring fighters?
R: Stay focused and never give up. It’s all about heart, baby. You have to love what you do in order to succeed.