Roque Abraham Reyes aka The Mudville Slugger comes to us from Stockton, CA where he was born & raised. He is a veteran and accomplished fighter having amassed a 14 fight resume as an amateur over the last 4-5 years.
*Blue Belt Jiu-Jitsu
*Instructor’s Assistant Kid Jiu-Jitsu & Youth Classes at Cortez Martial Arts
*1 x Fighter of the Night (The Titan’s Cage 5 June 2013) – Amateur
*5 x Title Challenger/5 different promotions – Amateur
*1-4 Title fights at Bantamweight (135 lbs) & Featherweight (145 lbs) – Amateur
*Multiple Weight Division Fighter (155 lbs, 145 lbs, 135 lbs)
*2012 Stand Up Fighters MMA Featherweight Champion (145 lbs) – Amateur
*BJJ Competitor – Multiple medals
*MMA Matchmaker – Stand Up Fighters
*BJJ Superfights Matchaker – Panda Cup 4
*Amateur MMA Record 5-9
Reyes, representing Cortez Martial Arts/Charles Gracie BJJ is a making his pro debut this Sat Feb 28th at Westcoast Fighting Championship 13 facing Team Alpha Male’s Joseph Morales 1-0. This will be a rematch from their time spent as amateurs where Reyes will be looking to vindicate his loss to Morales in their first meeting.
Thanks for talking to me today, how are you?
I am hungry how are you?! Haha!
Let’s start from the beginning, what first led you into MMA?
Old school UFC/Ken Shamrock, I wanted to be like Ken back in my high school days. He was ripped and could break your leg! It wasn’t for quite some time after high school that I actually started training at 28 years old. I was ultimately inspired by Josh Haynes from season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter and his story was the catalyst that really got me off my butt to make a run at something I dreamed about as a youth.
My homebase is Cortez Martial Arts in Manteca, CA. We are a Charles Gracie affiliate and my instructors are Sensei Jason Cortez and Javier Gomez who are both brown belts. Our resident pro MMA fighter is Vincent “The Wild Bordi” who also serves as the MMA Instructor. I am next in line at pro as I will be making my debut at Westcoast Fighting Championship 13 this weekend in Sacramento. We also have a few amateurs climbing the ranks as well. My son is on the Jiu-Jitsu team as well. I really enjoy being a part of Cortez Martial Arts as it is like family. I know it is cliche to say but it is in that we share many of the same values with regard to family and being martial artists. Sensei Jason comes from a Kenpo background and has been in martial arts since he was 10 years old. You can look us up at www.cortezmartialarts.com or visit our Facebook page. Our Jiu-Jitsu team, in my opinion, is one of the best in the San Joaquin County. We compete in several tournaments throughout the year and always place. Overall it is a great place to be and I am grateful to Sensei Jason and his wife Lillie for providing a home for not only my son and I, but for the entire team as a whole to hone our skill.
I also,cross-train at different gyms and with lots of different fighters along with my home team. I am kind of old school MMA in that regard. I spend much of my camp between Cortez Martial Arts and Dynamic MMA in Modesto, CA. Paul Mendoza and his crew over there are awesome to work with and are a great team. Dynamic MMA is a Ralph Gracie affiliate and ironically Sensei Jason and Paul know each other through the martial arts as Paul spent many years himself in the circuit. Paul is very well versed in MMA as well as being a black belt under Ralph Gracie. I really enjoy training there as well.
From time to time I visit Valor Training Center in Stockton, CA. Patrick Rivera has a great Muay Thai program and coaching staff. I primarily work with Coach Tony Dominguez as he and I have been friends for close to 10 years.
On occasion, I visit my old MMA coach Moses Cortes in Stockton to get some extra work in and fine tune some things. I will be working with him more often going forward as he is a great coach and one of the best in Stockton/Northern California.
Then we have our cross-training crew! This is a combination of several fighters in the Nor Cal and Bay Area who come together about once a month at any of our home gyms to mix it up. We have members of teams from Nobody MMA, Gracie Fighter, Combat Fitness, Guerilla Jiu-Jitsu (Dave Camarillo), Cortez Martial Arts/Charles Gracie, Dynamic MMA, Pacific Ring Sports, as well as some fighters from the Sacramento area and the list goes on and on. This crew is constantly growing and it is great to be able to network with all these fighters and continue to learn, grow and ultimately make new friends. We have guys in our crew on the pro and amateur side that have fought in Strikeforce, are 10 year vets, and are champions or contenders. It is a high level group of fighters and we all bring something to the table. Some of us have either fought each other in the past, which is the case with me with a couple of the guys, or been on the same card together in the past. I like to think I am one of the pioneers of this group with the guys at Nobody MMA as we go back to like 5 years and combined our networks and poof!
Overall, I am blessed with the network I have and the fighters I train with and the people I have in my life. As you can see I stay very busy!
Is there anything different that you have done in this camp that you haven’t in previous camps, anything in particular that you have been working on?
Just focusing on the longer rounds and pushing myself more. I spent about 4-5 years in the amateur ranks fighting under CAMO (California’s amateur league). The fights start at 2 min rounds until your 3rd or 4th fight and then you get bumped up to 3 minute rounds. I have about 14 amateur fights so going pro, the rounds are now at 5 minutes and that will make a difference. So I am just mainly just focusing on that.
What is your favorite style that you like to train?
I thoroughly enjoy jiu-jitsu by far. I feel natural grappling and enjoy it. I will do jiu-jitsu for the rest of my life once MMA life is over. Also, I have really adopted the martial artist lifestyle that comes with jiu-jitsu and meshed that with my faith in God; it has really helped my life in many ways. Jiu-Jitsu also gives me more bonding with my son as we are both practitioners of the art.
When you are not training or fighting what would we find you doing in your spare time?
Well, I don’t take fights or do any jiu-jitsu competitions during the fall as I also coach my son’s soccer team. But we still do our jiu-jitsu 3 times a week. So during soccer season it is soccer and jiu-jitsu. Not to mention he has school and I have work so we are pretty busy year round! I always make time to do nothing but have family time. My wife, kids and I take an annual vacation somewhere. However, with my daughter in dance, we go support her at her recitals and competitions as well. I make time to date my wife and do things unrelated to sports or dance with my kids together and individually.
But I guess to really answer the question, in my spare time is when we clean the house and run errands! Haha!
What advantages do you think that you have over Joesph Morales?
My advantages are defiantly my heart, determination and mentality. I am older than him by many years and with that comes wisdom and a certain level of contentment. MMA does not make or break me, however for him I think that it does. Also, he is the hometown boy in this fight. So there may be added pressure there for him.
What threats does he oppose to you?
Well, he and I fought each other before as amateurs in a title fight back in 2013. He won the fight and is the only one to really put it on me the way he did. However, I am the only one that took the best he had and kept going. I know he has a really good top game with control and has good jiu-jitsu. However, I like to think we are both not the same fighter.
What future goals have you made for your career?
I would definitely like to work with CAMO or a promotion and give back to MMA as it has given me so much. I have done matchmaking in the past and being that I spent so much time in the amateur area, I know the system very well. So I would like to kind of help the amateurs along their way. I really like coaching too. I am an Assistant Instructor at Cortez Martial Arts and have spent a number of years in MMA already. And I assist the amateur fighters with their fights and paperwork, etc.
Ultimately, I never had a goal in MMA. I just wanted to try it so I would not be 50 years regretting not trying it. I am just along for the ride and am very realistic about MMA and have a pretty thorough understanding of the game. I will be 37 in May and am content to work FT in Accounting and do MMA on the side until I can’t anymore. Life is journey, not a destination. The same holds true for me in MMA.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced during your career?
The biggest challenges are always time and balance. I work a FT job and am married with children. That about sums that up! Haha! I have always said that if MMA starts to interrupt my life at home with my wife and kids to a detriment than I will move on from it.
You are a huge family man, why don’t you tell us about them?
Well, I have made mention of them already. But yes I am big on family. I come from a broken home where my father committed suicide when I was 2 years old and have suffered through some abuse in my younger years. So being an active father and husband is important to me in that I know the impact of not having a father and going through some of the things I went through. I am by no means perfect but I do my best at being a great father and husband. My family is my everything; I am broken and lost without my wife and kids.
So I have been married to my wife since 2005 having been together about 12 years altogether. She is a Special Ed teacher and a very sweet person. She is my polar opposite but we work! Haha! We have 2 adorable children together.
Our son is 11 and is a great boy. He has been doing jiu-jitsu since he was 7 starting off in no-gi only and transitioned to traditional gi with me about 2 years ago. He is a 1 stripe yellow belt at the moment and has a passion for jiu-jitsu. Competing in several tournaments, he is an accomplished grappler with numerous medals and a championship belt. He also plays soccer and has been for about 6 years. I have coached his team for 5 of those years. Aside from sports, he does very good academically and is my sidekick!
Our beautiful daughter is 8 and is great in her own right. She has been in dance for close to 5 years now moving up to the competition team’s practice squad. She will be on the team full-fledged next season. It has been great to watch her grow and learn the moves. My wife practices with her a lot and it is awesome to watch them. Dance is a year round thing for our baby girl and she thoroughly enjoys it. Our daughter is a huge supporter of her brother and I. She is accomplished academically as well and likes to be with her daddy too. She is a sweetheart like her mother but has my sense of humor so she talks about farts! Haha!
My mother is also with us at home too and is such a great help with everything. She is a widow and retired nurse. I enjoy having my mother around but she will not watch me fight! Haha! But she will rock The Mudville Slugger t shirts! She is very supportive even though she thinks I am crazy!
Thank you for taking the time out and talking to me, last question have I for you. As always, is there anyone or a sponsor you would like to talk about that are supporting you going into this fight?
I would definitely like to say thank you to all my sponsors, supporters and training partners!
First and foremost all glory and praise to God!
My sponsors: Bulletproof Energy, Creative Vision Printing, 86 Athletics, Zaps Zone, J&J Removal, Calfit Manteca, Joe Atler Painting, Yakuza Moon, GFY Fight Gear, Tom’s Market, James Anderson Media!
Honorable mention: Stockton Youth Soccer Association, MMA Nation on Facebook, Michelle Luce for all her help with my fan page and for her friendship!
Teams/Gyms: Cortez Martial Arts, Dynamic MMA, Valor Training Center, Nobody MMA, Special shout out to the Crosstraining Crew!
People: My wife and kids for all their support! My mother for being my mother! Sensei Jason and Lillie Cortez! Paul Mendoza! Jacob Bruce! Tony Dominguez! Patrick Rivera! Moses Cortes! All the fighters that I have trained with! All the folks that cheer for me!
I just want to thank everybody! Many of you have impacted me in one way or another and there would be too many to list! I appreciate all of you! OSS!
Make sure you don’t miss Roque fighting this weekend at West Coast Championship 13 on Saturday February 28th. You can visit http://www.westcoastfighting.com for more information on tickets or to watch the event live on PPV.