After a 20-month layoff from fighting, London, Ontario’s Jesse Ronson will make his return to the Octagon at UFC Vegas 51 on April 16.
Jesse Ronson: Dark Days Behind Him
In July 2020, Jesse Ronson earned a first-round rear-naked choke victory against Nicolas Dalby at UFC Fight Island 3. However, that victory was overturned to a no-contest after he tested positive for the banned substance methandienone. This resulted in a lengthy 20-month suspension.
“It’s really screwed up because you know how Facebook has memories every day that you can check?” Ronson told James Lynch for MMASucka. “All the memories I check from Facebook is me bashing people that take steroids and then all of a sudden I get caught for doing it. I’m not going to be the guy talking shit about people using it and then use it myself because I know I’d get burned alive.
I believe it was a tainted supplement because I’ve never taken steroids and I never would, I used all of the supplement that I was taking, so I had nothing to send USADA. I did everything and anything I could to prove my innocence, but again unless you have some of the supplement that you’re taking. I haven’t done anything different, I just stopped taking the one supplement. I’ve had 10 clean tests, so just a whole big bunch of bullshit. But everything is good and everything is back on track and ready to go.”
The overturned contest was Ronson’s first fight back in the Octagon after his stint on The Ultimate Fighter in 2014. In 2018 he was expected to take on Diego Ferreira, however, a bad weight cut forced him to be pulled from the bout and subsequently led to UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby telling Ronson that he would never fight for the UFC again. These were dark days for the Canadian.
“100%, I was like this, is it. It was a dark moment, it was a dark week, like 10 days, I was like this is it for me. Especially with 2018 having Sean Shelby say that ‘you’re never gonna fight for the UFC again’ and then somehow managing to get my way back, only to have my first fight back and first win taken away from me for banned substances. I was like, he’s gonna fucking boot me. It was a very dark time, I contemplated some things that I never would have gone through with, but you know, here I am.”
During his time off, he hasn’t been inactive. In fact, despite the pandemic, the 36-year-old feels that he is sharper than he’s ever been. Jesse Ronson has been working on all aspects of his game and expects to make quick work of his upcoming opponent Rafa Garcia on April 16.
“I’ve been working my ass off for 20-months,” Jesse Ronson stated. “Guys at Adrenaline, they would let me in during the pandemic and let me bring a couple of guys in. Some people had mats at their apartment. I have not been resting. If it wasn’t for that fourth or fifth lockdown, I would have been promoted to BJJ black belt by the GF Team Jake Mackenzie. But I’ve been working my ass off on my ground game, I’m super comfortable there.
I’ve been working my ass off on wrestling, always on the striking department. I’m better than I’ve ever been. I feel like Mike Tyson when he went to jail for the first time, except for no rape charges. I am ready to go. I have been wanting this. I’ve got 20-months of fighting to make up, I want to fight six times this year. I’m gonna make quick work of Rafa Garcia on April 16 so I can get back there May 21 or May 28 and just keep going.”
The Adrenaline MMA product has a been doing his homework and knows exactly what Garcia brings to the table. Jesse Ronson feels that he’s tough, but a perfect opponent to stand across the Octagon from.
Jesse Ronson will leave those dark days behind him, look to finish Garcia and move on with the rest of 2022.
“He’s a perfect fight. He’s tough. He’s a tough Mexican wrestler, boxer. He’s not an idiot, he likes to throw hands, but when he realizes he can shoot, he’ll shoot. According to Cub Swanson, who’s his main training partner, he’s the strongest guy he’s ever grappled with. I want to engage in grappling just to see how strong this guy is. Because I’m like hmm, he’s no Michel Prazeres and I’ve grappled with that guy. I’d love to see how strong the strongest guy Cub’s ever grappled with is.
But he’s the perfect stylistic match-up, he likes to throw hands — he’s not very good with the kicks. He doesn’t really like to engage in jiu-jitsu matches, loves the scrambling aspect, which is good for me. I think it’s a great match-up for me to come back to after a 20-month layoff and I’m gonna be the first guy to knock him out.”
“First round,” Jesse Ronson explained. “He comes out hard. He’s big and strong. He likes to use his muscles. I can see me gassing him out in probably two or three minutes with the pace that I’m probably gonna put on, because I’m gonna put on a pace and make him work. Every fight that I’ve seen him in, he tried to match velocity and intensity, people gas him out in about three minutes. He recovers well, but he really really struggles for that last two minutes and that’s when I’m gonna put him away with like two and a half, two minutes left. I’m gonna just crank his body and then I’m gonna finish him.”