After being warned by opponent Charles Rosa’s warning that he will “lose a limb” if he grapples during their UFC 249 bout, featherweight Bryce Mitchell says his infamous scrape with a power drill means nothing fazes him any more.
Mitchell, known to his legion of fans as “Thug Nasty,” has been hard at work on the farm as he prepares to go up against Charles Rosa at UFC 249 on May 9 – the first event to be held and streamed live since the outbreak of COVID-19.
Arkansas native Mitchell has been uploading plenty of YouTube content for fight fans to follow, thanks to his videographer and old roommate Kidron Cannon as part of the Home Grown Fighter series as he introduced his fans his girlfriend, his plan to eat plenty of rabbits and offered a look at his training regime at a gym closed to the public.
With fight night moving closer, the trash-talking between the two fighters is now in full swing, with ‘Boston Strong’ Rosa suggesting Mitchell would “lose a limb” if he tries to take the fight to the mat. Mitchell responded that given he almost “lost my weiner” in a power drill accident, he wouldn’t be at all concerned about a limb. Rosa then fired back with a photoshopped picture of Mitchell wearing a camo-covered sling.
I ripped my nuts in half and almost lost my weiner u think I’m worried about a limb https://t.co/8uKyl4VL6U
Rosa, for his part, has continued to show off his love of cooking by uploading some impressive culinary displays to his twitter feed and taking any opportunity he can to belittle Mitchell.
“He hasn’t been exposed to the highest level jiu-jitsu and grappling in the world yet. I made it clear that I’m the best jiu-jitsu guy in the featherweight division and if anybody wants to argue that they can test me,” he boasted.
“I’m better than this kid on every single spot on the mat, I have better cardio than him, stronger than him, better wrestling, better jiu-jitsu, better striking, I don’t see one spot in the fight where he can beat me.”
The UFC 249 bout between the two will now take place in Jacksonville, Florida, in a world that’s very different to when UFC 248 took place in Las Vegas in early March.
The spread of coronavirus is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and while fighters are at risk of contracting the disease, Rosa’s coach Charles McCarthy believes that risk is worth taking.
“We are trying to entertain people, keep people’s minds off of the suffering and hopefully provide a way back to recovery for everybody,” he told mymmanews.com.
Rosa meanwhile said: “It hasn’t directly affected me yet, but I’m still being cautious of it and still taking precautions ‘cause I don’t want it to affect me or anyone I know.”
Mitchell has taken a very relaxed approach to the build-up and seems more unconcerned about the current pandemic than his opponent. The past few days have seen him lobbying Reebok to manufacture a pair of camouflage shorts he’d like to wear for the event.
He may be a senior economics major, but Mitchell has some unusual views on the virus, telling MMA Junkie at the end of March, “I think the good government made the damn virus. I think that they infected the people on purpose to cause some type of chaos. There’s some people making good money and stuff.”
He is equally dismissive of Rosa’s chances of defeating him at UFC 249. “I’m going in there to hurt that guy,” he said.
“Especially after everything he’s said about me. I don’t know the guy, I don’t care to know him, but what he said about me made me pretty mad. So I think I’m gonna hurt him. And right when that fight starts he’s gonna realize I ain’t no joke.”
Scrambles. Lots of scrambles.
There’s a lot of testosterone flying around in the pre-fight social media exchanges between the pair, but neither man is the sort of character to try to be sneaky about their approach. Rosa is a submission-first fighter with eight finishes via tapout from his 11 career wins. But in Mitchell he faces an undefeated prospect who also loves nothing more than to take his opponent to the mat and work them over on the ground before submitting them.
“Thug Nasty” has nine submission finishes to his name, and has the better record on paper as a 12-0 prospect. But Rosa has operated at a slightly higher level, with each of his three career losses coming against fighters – Dennis Siver, Yair Rodriguez and Shane Burgos – at a much higher level.
Both men are supremely confident in their abilities on the mat, and it could result in a fascinating back-and-forth battle on the ground. The big question is whether BJJ brown belt Mitchell’s ground game is polished enough to hang with Rosa, who has a BJJ black belt from respected coach and American Top Team founder Ricardo Liborio. That pedigree may well prove to be the deciding factor on fight night.