Jesse Ronson (R) kicking Tony Hervey (L) at SFS 3
Along with a UFC contract, Jesse “The Body Snatcher” Ronson received an influx in friends.
Ronson (Twitter: @ronsoff), who trains primarily at Adrenaline Training Center in London, Ontario, graces the Octagon for the first time at UFC 165 on Sept. 21 in Toronto. Stepping in for injured Mark Bocek, Ronson will meet fellow lightweight Michel Richard dos Prazeres in his UFC debut.
Since signing with the UFC, Ronson’s friend’s list has increased tenfold.
As with any newfound fortune or fame, you can bank on friends and family coming out of the woodwork. In a city such as London, that has a population in the vicinity of 355,000 residents, news travels fast and locals take notice of one’s change in status. Ronson’s level-headed demeanor assists him in warding off the leaches, although, he can’t help but chuckle at some of the people attempting to latch on to his coat tails.
“I hear people, like fans and stuff, when I’m out and it’s nice to have the support, but some people are popping up out of nowhere,” Ronson told MMADiehards.com. “I have people contacting me on Facebook that I haven’t spoke to since high school, and I didn’t even speak to them in high school, and they’re like, ‘Hey, let’s get a beer or hang out or whatever.’ Even girls I tried to get with years back that wouldn’t speak to me are now asking me to hang out. I’m just like, ‘Yeah, don’t I know your boyfriend?’ It’s funny.”
Ronson built his reputation in the Canadian MMA circuit, competing on regional shows throughout the country. Along with the training at ATC, a gym owned by Mark Hominick, Sam Stout and Chris Horodecki, Ronson also prepares for bouts at Rory McDonell’s Para Bellum MMA and other Ontario based gyms.
After winning eight consecutive bouts, most recently a lightweight title match against Shane Campbell at AFC 19, Ronson was planning a stint in the WSOF. But that didn’t last long.
“My manager called and told me I’m not fighting in WSOF,” Ronson said. “I asked him why, and he said, ‘Because you’re fighting in the UFC on September 21.’ I was shocked, it was surreal, but I can’t explain how happy I was. This is what I’ve always wanted and now I’m here. It’s a great feeling.”
After the closure of the Score Fighting Series, Ronson, like many other Ontarian mixed martial artists, had a difficult time trying to find bouts without signing a long-term deal. Ronson held out for a chance to compete in the UFC, which meant turning down various offers from other MMA promotions. It was a lot of tough decisions, but having veterans like Hominick and Stout around him help Ronson in making the right career moves.
The experienced mixed martial artists Ronson surrounds himself with are also beneficial when he deals with his newfound fame and increase in media duties,
Hominick fought UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo at UFC 129, the organization’s grandest show to date, in the night’s co-main event. The amount of media and fans that flocked to ATC to catch a glimpse of Hominick in his preparations for Aldo was massive and that’s something Ronson doesn’t know if he’s ready for quite yet.
“We had to lock the doors just to get some training done when (Mark) had that fight,” Ronson said. “It was crazy, I couldn’t believe how many people would show up every day. And Mark is a friendly guy so he tried to sign as many autographs as possible and answer everyone’s questions. The gym was full of fans and media every single day before that fight. I don’t know if I want to have to go through that.”
Well, Ronson may hope it doesn’t get that bad, but if his win streak continues in the UFC, he may have no choice other than going through it. Friends and family included.