Among a host of top domestic talent that made their Bellator debuts in the inaugural European series event, featherweight Nathan Rose arguably had the biggest highlight reel finish of them all. He dispatched of his opponent, Ranjeet Baria, with one second to spare in the first round when he landed a huge right hand to close the show. It was the Londoner’s first finish since June 2017 and well and truly signified his arrival in the promotion looking to make big waves this side of the pond. Despite the importance of the occasion, Rose didn’t let the pressure get to him and delivered a performance that he was expecting.
“The fight went just as planned like I said to you before the fight – I was going to crush him,” said Rose. “Nothing in the fight surprised me and my coaches planned everything down to a tee. I acted it out and got the victory.”
That victory saw Rose move to 7-1 in his MMA career and he now boasts a 57% finishing record with all of those stoppages coming by first round knockout. That means that future opponents will always have to be on top of their game when exchanging strikes in the cage with him. It is no secret that Rose prefers the fight to take place on the feet just like his close friend and UFC light heavyweight, Jimi Manuwa. Rose has a very similar past to Jimi and Manuwa’s climb towards the top of the world’s light heavyweight rankings showed him that the path was there to take if he wanted to. As is the case with many mixed martial artists, Nathan didn’t always follow the right path when he was younger but the sport really helped him to change his life around.
“I first got into MMA because of my friend Nathan Greyson. He started training and fighting so one day, I followed him to the gym which is where I met Jimi,” explained Rose. “We have been close ever since as we have similar backgrounds. I was always in trouble in my younger years and after my first professional fight I got arrested for an offense I committed a few years before which I knew I was going to prison for.”
“I was out on bail when I had my second professional fight which I didn’t prepare well for because my head wasn’t in the right place. That is still my only loss,” continued Rose. “When I came out of prison, I didn’t train because I was restricted to where I could be in certain places at certain times. I’ve been out for nearly 4 years now and during this time I have completed a degree in accounting and finance. I’ve dedicated my life to this sport now that it has saved me from my past and it’s helped me to have patience and become more disciplined. I hope that other individuals with pasts like mine can see this and use my story to help turn their lives around as well.”
Nathan made his Bellator debut following almost a year of inactivity so is looking to be much more active this year. The promotion’s next stop on these shores is on May 4th in Birmingham but Rose is willing to hold out an extra month to get a fight in more familiar surroundings.
“I want to get back in as soon as possible because as I’ve said before, I want to fight 4 times this year,” said Rose. “Bellator are coming back to London on June 22nd so I ideally want to fight there in front of my home town crowd.”
Bellator president, Scott Coker, announced a few weeks ago that the company will return with another tournament later this year that will feature the stacked featherweight division. However, this tournament will be different to the others that have gone before as the field will be opened up to 16 different competitors which means that many featherweights on the roster will get the chance to step up. Despite being a promotional newcomer, Nathan would not hesitate to make the most of that opportunity if it was offered to him.
“I would definitely be interested in that tournament even though I have just come into Bellator,” discussed Rose. “I would be a fool to turn down an opportunity like that at the end of the day. It’s MMA so there are so many ways to win a fight – anything is possible! However, if I don’t get entered, I will just continue to climb the ladder. I believe in my abilities and growth so I don’t need to rush it. When the time is right, I will take everyone out!”