Rongzhu has fought his way back into the UFC. He was released in 2022 after missing weight in what looked to be his final two fights for the promotion.

The Chinese lightweight earned his second chance after winning the Road to UFC lightweight tournament. He submitted Shin Haraguchi in the third round last Sunday and sounded delighted to have secured a second contract,

“I’m very happy to come back to the UFC. This is my second chance and I’m very happy to be back.”

Unlikely candidate

Having won just won of his first three UFC fights, and managed to make weight on just one occasion, Rongzhu did not seem a likely candidate for a second chance. But the 23 year old always believed he would be back,

“For the last two years after I got released by UFC I tried everything, I trained as hard as possible to get back to UFC and when the referee raised my hand I feel like (it) was deserved.”

Rongzhu left it late, securing the submission with less than two minutes remaining in the fight. It sounds like the Chinese fighter always planned to make a slow satrt,

“I was a bit tight and rushed in the first round. I know he’s a dominant wrestler so I tried to be conservative and to defend his takedowns and then in the second and third round I found my opportunities.”


Well earned

Rongzhu’s record now stands at 25-5 and he is riding a four right winning streak that includes three wins on the Road to UFC tournament. He thinks his first stint with the promotion might have come too early in his career,

“Two years ago I was very amateur, I made a lot of mistakes because I was too young and lacked discipline but the last two years I learned a lot. I have come back to the UFC and shown a more mature side to me.”

Having fought four times in 16 months Rongzhu plans to take a well earned break during Chinese new year. After that he is already planning his second assault on the UFC lightweight division,

“You will see another improvement in my performance. I am going to show the UFC who I really am.”