Jesse Ronson describes going 'to hell and back' for his first UFC win after six years away
ABU DHABI – Jesse Ronson beat Nicolas Dalby with a first-round read-naked choke finish Saturday on the preliminary card at UFC on ESPN 14 in Abu Dhabi.
Take a look inside the fight with Ronson, who returned to the UFC for the first time in six years.
Result: Jesse Ronson def. Nicolas Dalby via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:48
Updated records: Ronson (22-10 MMA, 1-3 UFC), Dalby (18-4-1 MMA, 2-3-1 UFC)
Key stat: It was Ronson’s first UFC win in four tries after an 0-3 run from 2013-2014.
On his performance
“I figured out all his little shoulder jukes and everything else, and I could time him. Did I think I was gonna get the submission? No. Nobody’s ever finished this guy, and he’s fought some really good guys. Does that mean I’m better than those guys? Absolutely not. MMA math doesn’t make sense. I was hoping for the TKO, but he’s got a hard head, and he just presented his neck when he turned. And I’m not letting go. I’m gonna steal your soul. I just squeezed the crap out of him.”
On what it means to finally get his first UFC win
“It’s unbelievable. I’ve been waiting for this my whole life to get that UFC win ever since I turned pro. It eluded me in 2013 and 2014, but it’s better than a birthday and better than Christmas. … A lot of people would’ve quit, and they would’ve stopped. A lot of people have quit. They make it to the UFC, doesn’t work out, and they just quit. That’s not me. I’ll never stop. I was born to fight. I was born to punch people in the face. I knew there was a lot of growing that needed to be done, especially as a fighter and as a man and as a human being, and I’ve done all that. It sucks that it’s taken this long. I’m 34 now. I’ll go back to this this line: Now that I’m here, and I’ve got this win, I’m here for a good time. Hopefully it lasts a long, and I’m gonna make the most of my time.”
On almost quitting during his long road back
“After I got released from the UFC, they told me get a couple of wins, and we’ll take you back. I got a couple of wins, and they didn’t take me back. And I dropped three in a row. At that point, I took a big, deep breath and I was like, ‘Is this it?’ It took a lot of people close to me telling me, ‘Jesse, you shouldn’t give up.’ At that time, TKO came back, and I always wanted to be a champion there. … So I went there, got on a hot streak, won two titles. It gave me my confidence back. It gave me that ability to grow up and flourish and become the man that I am today to get that ‘W’ I got today. It’s been to hell and back, and here I am.”