To be the best, a champion has to fight the best, and the best part about that is it only makes all of the fighters better. However, when a fighter captures a title early in his career and defends it over a lengthy period of time, it is easy to get too comfortable.
Ring of Combat’s Julio Arce, an instructor at the Tiger Schulmann’s flagship location in Bayside, Queens, N.Y., was the promotion’s bantamweight champion after only his fifth professional fight. At ROC 47, over two years ago, he captured the vacant strap. He defended it three times over the following year and a half. In the ROC bantamweight division, Arce was the man. He had won all of his fights in dominant fashion.
Then came ROC 52 in September. Things didn’t exactly go the 26-year-old’s way. After three rounds against Team Bombsquad’s Brian Kelleher, Arce’s title had been stripped, and the young pro had to take a step back.
“I let him push me against the cage too much, and I let him move forward too much,” Arce told Combat Press.
Arce was a bit out of his element. He was a young champ who had never lost. He likely got too comfortable in the cage. As his opponent pushed him out of that comfort zone, Arce just wasn’t fighting the way he wanted to.