Romero got in his kicks at Ring of Combat, prepping him for the UFC (Tom DeFazio/ photo)

Like most former Ring of Combat title holders, Ricardo Romero intends to carry on the tradition.

Romero was a belt-holder in the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions when he competed in ROC.  Out of 11 bouts in the promotion, Romero only came up short one time, against Glen Sandull.  These outstanding performances caught the eye of the UFC, and New Jersey native was proposed an opportunity to perform in the Octagon.

Romero’s stint in ROC prepared him for what lied ahead.

“I’ll probably be biased because I only fought for Ring of Combat, but it is a good organization and I had a hell of an experience,” Romero admitted to  “It was good because it gets you into the glitz and glamour, so to speak.  When I came out to Vegas, I wasn’t in awe over the whole situation and that got me over the hump.

“They always had good competition in Ring of Combat.  Lou Neglia owns it and he is always looking for new talent.  He puts on good shows and the place is always sold out.  I hope to keep the streak going of guys who held titles in (ROC) and had success in the UFC.”

Romero has been a team member at Advanced Martial Arts in North Brunswick, N.J. since his career began.  He put time in at that facility while training for his bout Saturday night at UFC 135 in Denver’s Pepsi Center against James Te Huna, but the level of altitude in Colorado is much greater than the Garden State.

This called for a unique instrument to be utilized during this training camp.

“I’ve been a few different places and also spent time at the gym I have always been a part of,” Romero explained.  “I have strength and conditioning coach and he’s been doing great things with me.  I’ve been getting my core stronger and getting faster and even used a high-altitude mask.  It seems like it worked because I don’t notice a difference up here in Denver.”

Along with Advanced Martial Arts comes a different AMA Romero frequents.

Mike Constantino provides a world-class facility in Whippany, N.J. known as American Martial Arts — better known in the industry as AMA Fight Club.  The gym houses Jim and Dan Miller, Charlie Brenneman and Jamie Varner.  Romero finds the difference between the two training centers is in the numbers.

“Every time you show up there it’s very competitive,” Romero explained.  “Whenever you go against better competition it pushes you and makes you better.  At my other gym in North Brunswick I have one or two guys pushing me there, whereas at AMA I have 12 to 15 guys pushing me.  It makes a big difference.”

Romero is prepared to do battle against Te Huna, but admitted there was not a lot to study.

Te Huna is an Australian who, despite two UFC bouts under his belt, has never fought outside his native country.  This made finding tape on Te Huna difficult.  However, Romero has caught wind of a few things he thinks will assist him in being victorious.

“I wish I did know his strengths and weaknesses,” Romero admitted.  “From what I’ve seen and from what people tell me, our styles are very similar.  He might have an edge in the stand-up, we’ll see, but he’s a guy that I can take down and ground and pound.  That’s the word I’m getting.”

With a win over Te Huna, Romero will be back in the win column and continue to validate his position in the UFC.

Just like so many Ring of Combat fighters before him.

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