Midway through 2016, Roger Huerta faced a key time in his life.

Huerta, who once graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, was just 1-6 over his last seven fights spanning over six years.

But Huerta dug deep and scored a split decision over Adrian Pang at ONE 49: Defending Honor late in 2016. He was also awarded a disqualification victory vs. Hayder Hassan this past December, improving his overall mark to 24-9-1 with one no-contest.

When a spot became open opposite Benson Henderson in this Friday night’s Bellator 196 main event from Budapest, Hungary, Huerta jumped at the chance. He signed a one-fight deal with the promotion, returning for the first time since 2010.

Huerta fought Chad Hinton, Pat Curran and Eddie Alvarez during his seven-month stretch in Bellator, submitting Hinton, dropping a decision to Curran and suffering a TKO loss to Alvarez.

From 2006-09, Huerta called the UFC his home, winning six of eight – including his first six bout. He bested Leonard Garcia and Clay Guida during that stretch before suffering decision defeats to Kenny Florian and Gray Maynard – both former title contenders in the promotion.

Overall, Huerta won 20 of his first 23 bouts, including the no-contest.

While his record might not show it, Huerta is one of the biggest names in all of MMA on a world-wide basis. He’s been featured in a handful of movies, had his name in the headlines – some good, some bad like the street fight caught on film by TMZ that included a former Texas Longhorns football player – and once won a UFC-record five fights in a calendar year – a mark since equaled by Neil Magny.

Henderson, his opponent Friday night on Paramount Network, might come in the heavy favorite, but Huerta is not a man to ignore. He owns a dozen knockout wins to his credit and five more via submission, so the skills are there to present troubles for “Smooth.”

Mentioned in this article:

More About: