Photo via Ricky Palacios Instagram Page

Contender Series’s Ricky Palacios: “Expect chingasos, blood, and probably a knockout”

It’s hard to make a name for yourself as a fighter competing outside of major mixed martial arts promotion. However, Ricky Palacios (9-1) has done just that. A staple of Combate Americas, Palacios has thrilled crowds for almost five years, dating back to their inaugural event in 2013.

The 31-year-old has been in the public eye, fighting professionally since late 2012. His love and passion for the sport, however, extend far past his pro debut. In fact, Palacios didn’t “find” the sport or simply build love and passion for combat. That’s completely backwards, actually. The fighting lifestyle found him, and he made the best of it.

“One thing is that I used to be a beast,” said Palacios of his early draw to the sport. “I was like 200 pounds. The other thing is that I’m an adrenaline junkie. I love street fights, I’ll get that big rush. I got into a few fights and got arrested a few times. I just wanted to make it into a positive thing [and] use my adrenaline. I guess I was naturally skilled. I wanted to put it into play and make something positive out of it.”

Clearly, Palacios has done an excellent job turning negatives into positives while rising to the top of the Latin American/North American MMA scene. Palacios speaks highly of the aforementioned Combate Americas and believes he may not be where he is today without them.

“The experience was awesome,” said Palacios. “Campbell McLaren and Mike Afromowitz did an awesome job, but this is where everybody wants to go, so this is the step I’m taking.”

“The step” Palacios is referring to, is the step which all fighters hope to take at some point in their career– a step up to the UFC. Palacios will compete on this Tuesday night’s episode of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, airing live on UFC Fight Pass.

The opportunity doesn’t come as much of a surprise to Palacios, who, for months prior, had been expecting a call straight to go straight to the UFC. Whether it had been the UFC or the Contender Series, coming off back to back wins over UFC veterans, Palacios knew he would get a big opportunity regardless.

“I was thinking the UFC was going to hit me up for a fight in the UFC,” explained Palacios. “[My management] actually had me on watch for one of the events to take a fight, but it didn’t go through at 145. But this opportunity came in so I took it.”

Putting that work in at Bad Boys Boxing Gym!! We are coming

A post shared by El Gallero (@elgallero05) on

For all of the praise Palacios has received throughout his career, there has been one populous criticism pertaining to weight-cutting. During the span of his career, Palacios has missed weight for a handful of bantamweight fights. Handling things responsibly, Palacios openly admits to his struggles.

“The thing about bantamweight is that I don’t have a gym that I really train at all the time,” explained Palacios. “You know how a lot of these fighters have their gym? I don’t, so it’s kind of hard for me to stay persistent and have the nutrition and all of this going on. It’s been really hard without all of that behind me. I think bantamweight is my weight class, [but] I just have to be more strict with myself.”

Before Palacios name is added to the UFC roster, he’ll have to defeat top Hawaiian prospect Toby Misech (10-5). Misech potentially holds the keys to destroying “El Gallero’s” ultimate dream of making it to the UFC, but that doesn’t stop Palacios from respecting the Hawaiian as a person and a fighter.

“He respects me (I’ve seen some of his interviews), and I respect him because he is a tough opponent,” explained Palacios. “Of course, all of my opponents are tough. He likes to bang as well, so it’s going to be awesome.”

Despite holding Misech in high regard, Palacios believes he has what it takes to beat the fifteen-fight veteran. Win or lose, Palacios predicts the fight will be an exhilarating one.

“I think it’s going to be a great fight, I think it’s going to be a brutal fight,” said Palacios. “Somebody’s going out. It’s either him or me. We’re both going in there to win, but we know the risk that goes into this fight.”

Vegas here i come!!!

A post shared by El Gallero (@elgallero05) on

Not only does Palacios need a victory against Misech, he needs to earn it impressive fashion. UFC President Dana White will be cage side, ready to sign any prospect who thoroughly impresses him. Not rattled in the least bit, Palacios doesn’t plan on entering this fight with a different mentality than usual.

“I don’t know how to explain this,” laughed Palacios. “When I go in there my mind focuses on what I have to do. I know Dana White is the main guy in the MMA world. But I take it as I need go in there take care of business and perform. Afterwards, I’ll talk to the boss and see what he says.”

Earning a UFC contract would mean everything to the resident of Mission, Texas. He’s been working his entire life for this moment, and sees his whole career riding on his hopeful success.

“It’s everything that every MMA fighter works for,” described Palacios. We all want that opportunity. We want that chance to go into the UFC. That’s what everybody does. It doesn’t matter if you’re at Combate. It doesn’t matter if you’re at Bellator. Everybody wants to go into the UFC — it’s the number one promotion in the world.”

“I turned down my gym and [food truck] businesses,” furthered Palacios passionately. “The reason for it was that I needed to focus on my career. It’s been a while I haven’t focused. About a year and a half ago, I had so many things going on at the same time that it was hard for me to really sit down and focus on me. I’m going to say that this a do or die fight for my career with where I’m at.”

What the fans should expect come Tuesday night?

Palacios answers in a way only “El Gallero” could.

“They should expect chingasos, blood, and probably a knockout.”

“I want to shoutout all of my fans, friends, and family. Everybody who has supported me since day one. All of my sponsors. I have some many sponsors and people supporting me it’s crazy. Getting close to this fight, there’s so much energy. I’m excited. I’m loving it and I’m living life. I just want to thank you.”- El Gallero

To learn more about Ricky Palacios, follow him on social media:

Instagram: @elgallero05
Twitter: @elgallero05


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Nolan King is a MMA Today senior columnist, writer and renowned MMA insider. Nolan's other freelance work can also be found on FloCombat, Tapology, and MMA Brasil.