UFC 165’s Roland Delorme: “I Don’t Know How to Give up”, Advantage Versus Caceres “Definitely on the Ground”
By Timothy Gilbert
Canadian native Roland Delorme has been shaped by a lifetime of combat. He grew up on the streets of Winnipeg, where fighting for his life became a common occurrence. Eventually his natural athleticism and affinity for conflict drew him to Judo, which, after winning the Canada World Games, would lead him to become a national champion.
Now, at the age of 29, with a 9-1 1NC professional fighting record, Delorme has been fighting for a living for almost five years. He is 3-0 1 NC in the UFC and, according to his record, has never been finished in his career.
Although he has fought in familiar territory before, Delorme’s last fight, against Edwin Figueroa, was in Winnipeg, the city he grew up in, something that he says held considerable weight on him.
“I’d rather not fight at home, I like fighting in other cities because I don’t know anybody. There are no distractions. I go out there I do my work and I leave, I get out of the cage and I go home,” he said.
While his upcoming match at UFC 165 against Alex Caceres will be Delorme’s third time fighting within Canadian borders, it takes more than just that to make him feel at home.
“I got to fight in Winnipeg where I was born and raised and where I was from” he said. “That was an amazing experience, and that was something that I could never recreate. It was something that brought the best out of me.”
Delorme has been victorious almost every time he has fought in Canada. The lone blemish on his UFC record, a no contest decision to Francisco Rivera on July 21 at UFC 149 in Calgary, is the only time Delorme failed to emerge victorious from the octagon.
It was also the first time he was stopped in his five-year career, a setback that can affect the mentality of any fighter.
“I felt like I was waiting to get knocked out in that fight,” he said.
And that’s exactly what happened.
“If I’m in a fight I’m going to show up and I’m going to fight. If I’m broken, if I’m hurt, if I’m sick, whatever the case is, I’m going to fight I don’t care.”
And while the match technically didn’t result in a loss on Delorme’s record, it was later turned from a knockout to a no contest after Rivera tested positive for a banned substance, it still instilled in him a new sense of drive.
“I’m better than how I looked in Calgary. I’m a better fighter than that. It gave me a reason to work harder, it gave me a reason to want to do better because I wanted to show everybody, and myself included, that I’m better than that.”
Something that he has prepared to do in this fight, coming mentally loaded with a strategy specialized around his upcoming opponent, Alex Caceres.
“I can’t let him dictate the distance of our fight. I think that’s definitely the key to victory,” he said. “I can’t let him dictate the distance, I can’t let him throw those kicks he likes to throw, I can’t let him do all those things he likes to do.”
He is also realistically aware of the abilities he brings to challenge Caceres.
“My advantage is definitely on the ground,” he said. “Getting there might be a b—h sometimes, and I might have to eat a few kicks to the face and knees to get him there but that’s something I’m prepared to do.”
The match, which is scheduled for September 21 in Toronto, Canada will also be Delorme’s second chance to show off his newly repaired arm.
“I don’t think I’m going to have any more issues with this arm. I think it’s totally safe now,” he said. “And hopefully the rest of my body stays the same.”
Delorme was training in Cyprus when he originally incurred the injury. He was grappling; showing others some moves, when the man he was working with nearly ended his career.
“I gave him my arm for a Kimura and I was super relaxed and super loose,” he said. “I was like showing him a move and he just ripped it off, just like tore it.”
He fought for two years with an arm that was severely impaired.
“I made it in the UFC fighting with a wrecked arm.”
In his first appearance since getting it surgically fixed, Delorme brawled his way to a unanimous decision victory over Edwin Figueroa.
He plans on keeping himself healthy through September 21.
“Now it feels fantastic. Now it doesn’t bother me.”
And even if Delorme is fully aware of the dangers he will face in Caceres, a well-rounded southpaw who brings an arsenal of unorthodox punches and kicks into the cage, he is upfront and honest about what he thinks sets him apart from Caceres’s previous opponents.
“My jiu-jitsu is good it’s not great. My wrestling is good it’s not great. My hands are good they’re not great,” he said. But, “I don’t how to quit. I don’t know how to quit.”
“I don’t know how to give up man. My whole life’s been like that.”