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Mixed Martial Arts

Ricky Turcios says Filipino roots helped him in journey to UFC

The Return of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Volkanovski vs. Team Ortega was Ricky Turcios’ second crack at getting an Ultimate Fighting Championship contract. 

Back in 2017, a then-24 year old Turcios attempted to enter the UFC through Dana White’s Contender Series. However, he lost to Boston Salmon – who ended up with two fights in the UFC after.

But instead of sulking, the Filipino-Salvadoran used the loss as a motivation to strive harder. Moreover, he used it as a time to reflect on what his ancestors experienced to get to where he is today.

The-Ultimate-Fighter-29-Ricky-Turcios Ricky Turcios says Filipino roots helped him in journey to UFC Mixed Martial Arts News UFC  - philippine sports news

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“The whole journey from learning my first move and hanging out with my friends… It’s not just for me, but for my people,” he recalled.

“My family came from the Philippines and they did it big. They came from El Salvador and they did it big.”

After going 2-1 in his next three fights in regional promotions, Turcios tried his luck once more – this time entering the Ultimate Fighter house.

Unlike the DWCS, Turcios had to go through eight other fighters. Even harder, they had to stay in one house for a month.

“It’s a dream come true, a truly humbling experience.

“It’s been a long journey in the sense that the last 10 months preparing for the Ultimate Fighter, making it to the isolation house, fighting there, and then today the epic conclusion,” he continued.

In the Ultimate Fighter house, Turcios defeated Daniel Argueta and Liudvik Sholinian en route to UFC Vegas 35.

Come Sunday morning (Manila time), he took on fellow Team Volkanovski teammate Brady Hiestand in the finale that had one UFC contract at stake.

#ReadMore  Fil-Salvadoran Ricky Turcios earns UFC contract, rules TUF 29

It was a big moment for Turcios since this was an opportunity he couldn’t afford to waste. For him, it was his “Manny Pacquiao” moment.

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“I’ve seen the fight last week with Manny Pacquiao.

“He is a great champion, and I watched him since I was a young boy. He is an inspiration for all Filipino fans around the world and martial arts fans. I’m happy to be representing the Philippines and El Salvador. I want to be an inspiration to all martial arts fans worldwide,” he shared.

After a grueling slugfest, Turcios was able to eke out a split decision win to become the Ultimate Fighter.

And it’s the culmination of a long journey that he hopes would inspire others.

“I do this for all my friends and family that have been with me since the beginning. This trophy is just the physical representation but it’s the invisible stuff that you don’t see. This dream would not have been made possible without my family,” he said.

“Now as a champion, I’m thankful. The message of this is that ‘anything you want to be, you can be it. If your mind can perceive it and your heart really believe it, you are half way there. Now you got to do is do it. If you give it all you got, there ain’t really nothing to it.'”

Of course in true Filipino fashion, Turcios celebrated his win through a karaoke session during the post-fight press conference.

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