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The Ultimate Fighter

Ricky Turcios Stays True To Himself

The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter Winner Ricky Turcios Is Riding High After Taking Home The TUF Trophy

To say it’s good to be Ricky Turcios right now is an understatement.

The Houston native returned home after his victory over Brady Hiestand with The Return of The Ultimate Fighter trophy in hand and with his head held high. Turcios set out to become The Ultimate Fighter and he accomplished that, but what’s almost just as important to Turcios as winning the tournament is that he was able to do it by being himself.

“It’s been a dream come true. It really has and I’m living it, taking it day-by-day,” Turcios told UFC.com. “On the show I was able to handle myself inside and outside the Octagon as a champion. I put on exciting fights, I won those fights and I stayed true to myself.”

Turcios’ fights with Dan Argueta, Liudvik Sholinian and Hiestand all showcased Turcios’ ability to not only compete in epic battles, but that when he’s faced with adversity he pushes through the fire on his way to victory.

Ricky Turcios Octagon Interview | UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs Chikadze
Ricky Turcios Octagon Interview | UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs Chikadze
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That was the case for Turcios in his finale showdown with Hiestand. It was a back-and-forth contest that ended up being scored as a split decision victory for Turcios, who credits Hiestand for bringing out the best of him that night inside the UFC APEX.

“I’ve made sure to say as many great things as I can about Brady. He’s young in this sport and he’s going to do nothing but big things and I’ll always be in his corner. That’s my dude and I can’t wait to see what he does next,” Turcios said of 22-year-old TUF runner up. “When I watched the fight back, I saw that it was an exciting fight. In the moment I was like, ‘Oh man, this is crazy!’ it was a high stress situation. Being able to rewatch it, though it was fun, Brady and I really threw down; high-level grappling and we were throwing big punches. We delivered. The Ultimate Fighter Finale always has banger fights and now we’re right up there.”

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Watching the fight back brings out the “Hadouken” side of Turcios, the warrior spirit that takes over the second he makes the walk out to compete. That warrior mentality has been part of Turcios’ identity even before “Hadouken” was sown onto his wrestling letterman’s jacket.

Ricky Turcios reacts after his victory over Brady Hiestand in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 28, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Ricky Turcios reacts after his victory over Brady Hiestand in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 28, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“Haudoken is a big part of my identity. It’s a little thing but it’s important because everyone knows Conor as Notorious, GSP as Rush, Benson as Smooth Benson, Khabib as Eagle,” Turcios said. “I’m coming in with a dragon mentality, no mercy and that’s what it means to be Ricky ‘Hadouken’ Turcios. That means that I’m there for the blood, for the glory, to throw elbows, to grapple, to throw kicks, and give my whole heart. I want to be remembered as the warrior known as Hadouken.”

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Turcios also wouldn’t mind being remembered for another passion of his – acting.

“I’m going to break this right now. Now that I’m The Ultimate Fighter, some more doors will open for me and one of those doors hopefully is in the movie world, so let’s do it; let’s do Rush Hour 4 with me and the boys,” Turcios proclaimed. “Let me do an MMA comedy. I’m ready, I used to do theatre arts all the time as a kid. One weekend I would do a taekwondo tournament and the next I’d do theatre arts. If any of them movie deals come, I’m ready to go.”

Turcios references Bruce Lee, Tony Jaa, Jet Li and Jackie Chan as some of his inspirations for both acting and for how he learned how to conduct himself as a warrior. Now that he has the platform, he’d like to be that inspiration for future generations.

The first thing that Turcios did when he got back to H-Town was celebrate with his friends, family and students. It was a surreal feeling for Turcios, who aims to inspire kids and athletes to pursue mixed martial arts. He always had a vision to make a real difference and now that he has the platform, he’s going to do his best to make the biggest impact possible.

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“People have been telling me that I inspired them to do martial arts, start martial arts and have fun with the martial arts. Having fun with the hard work and having fun with martial arts is number one and I’m going to spread that mentality,” Turcios said. “When I had the spotlight, I did my best to spread some love with some good words to the people. Give a hug to the people you love, to your friends, your family, and your neighbors. The people wanted to hear that and that’s what the people need to do.”

Turcios isn’t sure the next time that he’ll be in the spotlight, but he does have an idea of what it’s going to be like when he makes his first walk to the Octagon as an official UFC fighter.

“You’re all going to be seeing me very soon,” Turcios predicted. “In my vision I see myself coming out to the Octagon at the sold-out Toyota Center. Lord willing, that’s what’s going to happen. Let me get that big fight. Top 15, Top 20, it doesn’t matter, I just can’t wait to get out there and do me and live in the moment.”