Julio Arce: Living the Dream
A successful UFC debut is a huge accomplishment for any fighter, but for Julio Arce it was the culmination of a lifetimes work from an unlikely beginning.
‘I started as a fat, pudgy kid, I weighed 200lbs, I sat in front of the TV and played video games before my sister brought me in to train at Tiger Schulmanns’ Arce told SpitballingPod recently as he explained his unlikely entry to the world of mixed martial arts.
The New York native had his first taste of the UFC when he competed on ‘Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series’, but despite getting the win, he was unsuccessful in his quest for a coveted UFC contract. ‘Everything happens for a reason, I didn’t get the contract but I knew it would only be a matter of time, so I just stayed ready for anything’, and stay ready was exactly what he did - when injury forced Charles Rosa to withdraw from his proposed bout with Dan Ige, Arce was ready and waiting to step in and save the show.
In terms of the fight, Arce was able to put on a show for the fans and get the win he’d been craving ever since he began training as a young boy; ‘It played out exactly as I wanted it to. I was able to showcase my striking, my takedown defence and for me it couldn’t have gone better. I was just so excited to be there on the biggest stage and I couldn’t be happier’ he said, when reflecting on the bout.
We’ve heard of fighters suffering from nerves ahead of fights, but it seems like the main issue for Julio was simply controlling his level of excitement – needless to say, he was able to settle down and remain composed when it really mattered though. ‘When I went in there, I wasn’t nervous because I’d been waiting for it for a long time, it was more just like the excitement was there, the moment just felt right, during the fight I was trying to contain the excitement, but I was landing all I had and I was waiting to run up the cage and have fun. Certain opportunities were missed and so this just felt like it was my time and it happened for a reason’ he said.
The original goal for Arce wasn’t to make it to the UFC, like many others, but instead it was a goal that developed over time, as his love for the sport increased with it – ‘At the beginning, I didn’t see myself here, as I was just focused on losing weight, but once I started training and my coaches saw the potential, then I wanted to make it to the higher level. I grinded, worked hard and here I am today’ he explained.
As for what’s next, nothing is set in stone yet, but if he had his way, there is one particular card that is whetting the appetite for Julio – ‘I’m hoping to get into the UFC show in Brooklyn, that’s hopefully my next step but if not I’ll be ready for whatever they offer, I’m training, staying in shape and I’m ready to go’ he said.
Arce touched upon his team at ‘Tiger Schulmann’s’ and boasted that they are now showing people just what they can do. With Jimmie Rivera and Shane Burgos by his side, to name just two, Julio has now ‘fallen in love with the sport’ that got him here and he’s showing no signs of letting up; As a trainer and a competitor, he says he’s ready to climb the mountain of talented ‘45ers’ and he’ll be ready for anyone.