Charles Rosa epitomizes his nickname of ‘Boston Strong’ – this man is Beantown condensed into a 5 ft 9 in frame. He’s tougher than a $2 steak, as genuinely nice as they come, he can outcook your mother and will fight anyone. At UFC 249, he’ll throw down with the undefeated Bryce Mitchell in what will surely be a contender for the Fight of the Night. The coolest part? It’s pretty much all genetic in the Rosa bloodline, but more on that in a minute.
In October of 2014, Rosa got the short-notice call to fight the notoriously tough featherweight, Dennis Siver. Undefeated at 9-0 at the time, Rosa jumped at the opportunity to fight this German fire hydrant of a man on the big stage. Although he came up short on the scorecards, Rosa opened a lot of eyes with his aggressive approach and earned his spot on the roster in the world’s leading fight promotion, along with a Fight of the Night bonus. (For those of you who haven’t seen this fight, look it up. Fantastic transitions and a really underrated fight!)
Since then, the schedule hasn’t gotten easier for Rosa, as he’s constantly matched with tough competition in the Octagon. Yair Rodríguez, Kyle Bochniak, Shane Burgos, Manny Bermudez…everyone he fights is tougher than boot leather and each opponent presents an entirely different skill set to overcome. The way he submitted Manny Bermudez in his last bout really turned heads, handing him his first loss and doing it by armbar in the first round (after being out of competition for thirty months due to a neck injury, on top of it all)…I don’t think anyone was expecting that outcome. In fact, the win garnered Rosa a performance bonus for an extra $50,000. But that’s the kind of determination to succeed that flows through the Rosa bloodline.
I first met Rosa at Dana White’s Contender Series back in June of 2018. He was cornering his teammate Rico DiSciullo and could not have been a nicer, more authentic guy. While the fight didn’t go DiSciullo’s way, I noticed the support and compassion Rosa demonstrated and knew there was more to his story than just being a tough kid from Boston.
Then in October of 2019 at the UFC on ESPN 6 event, I learned where that attitude of perseverance came from. I got to visit with the Rosa family and learned more of Chucky’s story. Do yourselves a favor and visit ChuckysFight.com to learn more about what’s made this family so genuinely tough. They’re built to overcome, outlast and inspire.
A few months ago, I was in Florida and trained for an evening at Boca MMA with Rosa. With upcoming stablemates like Mathew Wagy and Evan Elder, and instruction from Charles McCarthy and Jorge Rivera, Rosa is in a great environment to grow his skill set. We got a quick round in at the end of class and I can confirm that Rosa has that BJJ black belt for a reason. Fortunately, he’s sponsored by Acupuncture Zen, so I got fixed right up before my flight home.
Because his schedule has been somewhat inconsistent with injury during his time with the UFC, Rosa also put his culinary arts degree to use. Not only can he kick your butt, he’s also a chef at the upscale steakhouse, Cut 432, in Delray Beach, Florida. Seriously, he does it all. Check out his Instagram; this kid can out-BAM Emiril Lagasse and would make Gordon Ramsey call him “sir”.
So this weekend, when the cage door closes, Bryce Mitchell will have his hands full. If I was a betting man (and I am), I’d put money on the fact that Charles Rosa cooks up a tasty knuckle sandwich for his opponent on Saturday and comes away with another W for the Rosa family.