Being a mixed martial artist is much more than just stepping in a cage or being able to throw a punch, it is a complete lifestyle that requires unwavering dedication. Today we here at Art of MMA are very excited to present a man that completely embodies the world of MMA, Ring of Combat champ Julio Arce (11-2). Julio is much more than just a fighter, he is a student of the game as well as an instructor, yet still finds time to be a top of the line competitor. There has been a strong push for him to be part of UFC 210 in Buffalo, NY but it is only a matter of time until we see him in that UFC cage. So take a minute to get to know the man behind the gloves and get on social media and follow him @JarceTSMMA. So let’s do this!
Hey Julio, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us here at ArtofMMA.com. You are a guy we have had our eyes on for a while. Before we get into it, take us back to the beginning. How did you get your start in MMA, what’s your favorite part of being a pro fighter and if you weren’t a fighter what do you feel you would be doing?
Arce: My start in MMA was because I was a fat lazy kid who didn’t do anything but eat junk food and play video games. My older sister brought me into tiger Schulmann’s MMA and from there I’ve been training here for 16 years always in shape feeling great learning getting better.
My favorite part about being an MMA fighter is the journey that we all have to take to get to where we want starting from being an amateur then working your way into he professional level and just the continuous growth as a martial artist. If I wasn’t a pro fighter I would just be teaching martial arts because it’s what I love to do.
So basically you were a typical person but have made that transformation and now are one of the top guys in the game! Speaking to that intro where we spoke about being more than just a fighter, you are an instructor at one of the more well known gyms (Tiger Schulmann Bayside MMA) as well as a 2011 Golden Gloves Champion and a WKA World Kickboxing Champion. Most people wish to accomplish one or two of those feats in a lifetime, you have done it by the age of 28. Walk us through a normal day in your life and how do you feel all those accomplishments so far have set you up for success in MMA?
Arce: A normal day for me is waking up driving to Elmwood Park, NJ to go train under Tiger Schulmann himself. Then coming back to Queens to teach all day. As for how they set me up for success, I have competed in different disciplines boxing, kickboxing , MMA, grappling tournaments and when I was ready to go into professional MMA I felt comfortable in all areas of my game it was a journey to get there but I did it and I feel great when I get in that cage to fight.
That is awesome man! You are from the greatest city on Earth… NYC, and more specifically Queens. How do you feel growing up there and dealing with the lifestyle of NYC has molded you to be the man and fighter you are today?
Arce: It’s great being a fighter from NY and especially from Queens. I feel not many professional MMA fighters have come from Queens, a very small portion and I have the right people around me great coaches, mentors , friends, family, guiding supporting me and helping me develop as a fighter and as the man I am today.
I have seen that through your social media, especially your Instagram @julioarce89, always have pics up of you and guys like Shane Burgos, Sergio DaSilva, Jimmie Rivera and more. Love to see NYC keeping it close! For our readers that may not have caught one of your fights yet, how would you describe your fight style and why should they take notice of you?
Arce: My fight style, I like to make angles. I am a southpaw, I’m a striker.
Yeah, you forgot you like to take heads off like in the Thomas Vasquez fight haha. You have been in a couple different promotions like the CFFC, XCC but you have really hovered around Ring Of Combat (ROC) and currently reside as the 145 champ. Talk to us about what keeps you around the ROC and how it was to become a champion in a promotion you really care about. Also how is it to be in the same sentence as other ROC champions like Bradley Desir, Mike Santaigo and others?
Arce: All these promotions have been great to me and ROC is one of Lou Neglias promotions and I have been competing in Lou Neglias shows for a long time. When I was in the amateurs he treated us great when we fought for his promotion so I continued to fight there. Being a champion there (ROC) feels great because UFC champions came from Ring Of Combat so one day I will be there.
Couldn’t agree more and you have all the skills needed to be the next! You are currently riding a 3 fight win streak and back to back wins vs Frank Buenafuente. Now we saw you take a decision win in the first fight but then took home a decisive RNC submission win in round 2 of the rematch. Talk to us about those battles, did you feel you needed that rematch to prove you could finish it and leave no doubt to people? Any new fight lined up yet?
Arce: For me, when I fought Buenafuente and won the first time, it was a great win but I also felt I could have done more. They asked for a rematch, we took it and just like I got a chance to an immediate rematch when I fought at 135, I gave him the same chance and I got to show that at 145 I can finish people and that this is the weight class I belong in.
You do have a skill for finishing fights no matter the weight class that is for sure! Now you are sitting at 11-2 overall, a champion in not only MMA but other combat sports, a guy that as proven he can knock someone out, tap someone out and can go the distance. There was a push to get you on the UFC 210 card in Buffalo. Has there been any new developments and what more do you feel you have to do to get that call?
Arce: I’m am going to fight again on June 2nd and defend my title. As far as getting the call, I don’t know. I’m staying ready. Just in due time it will be my turn to go into the big show so just staying ready for anything.
I got a chance to see you come back from back to back losses to Brian Kelleher when you took to the CFFC cage and tapped out Francisco Isata. What did you learn from those losses and how nice was it to get back in the winners circle where you belong?
Arce: I learned that it was my time to move up, making 135 was hard, my body felt sucked out weak and through training I felt that the focus was more on weight cutting than making my skill better. Once I made the jump to 145 I don’t have to think about weight cutting at all just making my self stronger better I feel great.
That was on display that night for sure, you looked great! Watching that fight, the moment you locked in the RNC your fanbase blew up. In fact they were pretty vocal all night. What do your fans mean to you and if you could tell them all one thing what would it be?
Arce: I love my fans! I know most of them pretty much, all of them are my students that train and they have been there for my fights since I started. They watched me grow through the ranks and go from an amateur into a professional fighter. Love them all .
Keeping with that topic as I look at your Instagram it is filled with photos of MMA and family. How closely related do you feel those two are and why?
Arce: If it wasn’t for my sister who brought me into Tiger Schulmann’s I wouldn’t have met the amazing people I know now and have this great family behind me always supporting.
Ok man, we know your time is short so we will let you go but before we do that, are there any people (like our good friend Brandon Cuttino for setting this up THANK YOU!) or sponsors you would like to mention?
Arce: I always want to thank my family for always supporting what I do. My Team Tiger Schulmann MMA they have been with me since day 1 and have made me into the fighter I am today. Tigear Fight Gear for always supplying me with training equipment and Nutrabio for providing me with supplements and both these companies for all the continued support.
There you have it fight fans, the one and only Julio Arce. Make sure to follow him via social media as he will be one of the guys you are paying $65 to see at a UFC PPV very soon.