Seattle Seahawks fan Josh Rettinghouse gunning for own Super Bowl - NBC Sports

Seattle Seahawks fan Josh Rettinghouse gunning for own Super Bowl
'Baddest Dude' plans to upset Marlon Moraes for WSOF title
March 19, 2014, 10:45 am

“I would definitely rank Marlon Moraes among the Top 5 bantamweights. I'd go Renan Barao #1, Urijah Faber #2 … and I don't know who I would rank ahead of Marlon after that. He's definitely better than a lot of the UFC guys. He's got better striking and is an incredible athlete. I would love to see him fight Renan Barao. That would be sick.”

The author of that raving review? Not a media pundit, not a fight promoter, and not just any pro fighter. Instead it's Marlon Moraes' next opponent – Josh Rettinghouse. And while some may interpret Rettinghouse's high praise as putting the Brazilian bomber on a bit of a pedestal before their March 29 WSOF title clash, the Seattle Seahawks superfan owns a pretty good track record against foes who fascinate him.

Exhibit A) The bout that launched 23-year-old Rettinghouse from obscurity to co-main event status was his stunning upset of Alexis Vila – an Olympic bronze medal wrestler who was ranked No. 15 in the world at flyweight and owns a knockout win over Joe Warren.

Exhibit B) Rettinghouse (10-2) accepted the fight against Vila at WSOF 6 on just 10 days notice, weathered some big shots from the Cuban-American during the tussle – and even managed to take Vila down en route to the unanimous decision victory.

Exhibit C) Once upon a time Rettinghouse dreaded the thought of one day having to fight someone as ferocious as Vila.

“Back in the day me and my buddies watched Alexis Vila knock out Joe Warren – and Joe Warren was a bad---, a featherweight champ,” said Rettinghouse, who lives in Spokane, Wash., and has trained with other Spokane standouts such as Mike Chiesa, Sam Sicilia, Lyle Beerbohm and Cody McKenzie. “So me and my buddies looked at each other like, 'Man, that dude (Vila) is scary.” I was wondering, 'Man, could I ever compete with that guy? What if I had to fight that guy one day?'

Seattle Seahawks, Demetrious Johnson Put Washington state on the map

Seattle-area fans have had plenty to cheer about over the past year. Residents rejoiced and danced in the streets as the Seahawks claimed the city's first-ever Super Bowl title. And a former $9-an-hour recycling plant worker named Demetrious Johnson established himself as the best 125-pound fighter in MMA and a strong candidate for 2013 Fighter of the Year. Johnson's coach, Matt Hume, is as brilliant a teacher as there is in the sport.

Rettinghouse feels a heightened sense of empowerment from the excellence happening a four-hour drive away. But he's eager for Spokane, whose sports renown generally centers around powerhouse basketball teams at Gonzaga University, to share in the glory.

“The Seattle Seahawks just brought the title back to Washington so I'm looking to follow that same path … It's great and so awesome that Demetrious won the title and is bringing notoriety to Seattle and Washington,” Rettinghouse said. “If you want to be on a real pro card in Washington state then Seattle is the place to be. I've got a lot of friends over there and a ton of respect for those guys, but it's time for eastern Washington to make its mark.

“No fighter has really done anything huge on the eastern side of Washington. I want to be the first guy to bring a major title to eastern Washington. I love my state but at this point, for me, it's more about eastern Washington and Spokane city. It's just a matter of time before we get a Demetrious Johnson on this side of the state.”

Plan B

Rettinghouse's rise impresses even more when you consider that he works a job part-time, has already earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from Eastern Washington University and is presently pursuing a second degree in finance, on top of his intense MMA training sessions.

“You always have to have a Plan B. Fighting is what I'm most passionate about and it's most definitely my Plan A, but I've always been taught to have a Plan B,” he said. “When I start winding down my fight career then maybe I'll open up some businesses and accounting will be a good background to have. Even while I'm fighting – you have to build your own brand and make business decisions – so I think that learning business is great for any fighter.

“I actually considered dropping out of college a few times; I would be in class thinking about fighting. That's all I wanted to do. But my parents and my grandparents always tell me, 'School comes first.' So I'll hold onto my degrees, put them on the wall and maybe use them one day.”

'The Baddest Dude'

It's not a cocky thing, Rettinghouse notes, it's a confidence thing. And he's possessed it since elementary school. It's why he believes the amazing Marlon Moraes will fall, just as Alexis Vila did.

“When I was 10 or 11 years old,” Rettinghouse said, “I was always thinking in the back of my head, 'I'm the baddest dude in school.' I was the toughest dude in my grade school, I was the toughest dude in my middle school, I was the toughest dude in my high school.

“I have my own style; Marlon hasn't fought anyone like me. No one has really seen a lot of tape on me and what style I bring to the table. I'm still young in the sport so I'm a different fighter every time I go out there. Not to knock on Marlon, but he's been kickboxing a long time so his style doesn't evolve much with each fight. He's found his style and what works for him and he's not a new fighter every time he goes out there.

“It's different with me. I'm still on an exponential curve and I've always thought of myself as one of the best fighters in the world. I have a weird mindset that motivates me to push myself to the next level. I will rise to the occasion. The only person that I can really compare myself to at this point would be a Conor McGregor – maybe even a little bit of a Frankie Edgar (who, it so happens, is a training partner of Marlon Moraes). But I think I mix it up better than anybody and I'm more well-rounded than anybody. I'm a tremendous athlete and that will be the difference in this fight."

Moraes by First-Round KO?

Rettinghouse is amused that some people view Moraes as out of his league.

“I think it's funny that people are saying, 'Aw, man, Marlon is going to kill him by first-round KO!” he said.

“Ah – no. He's not going to touch me and then I'm going to fall down. The gameplan is to go out there and mix it up. I don't have to go to the ground with anybody and I don't have to stand and strike with anybody. That's why it's MMA. I will take what he gives me. Chris Weidman said it when he fought Anderson Silva: 'If he's got his hands up, I'll take him down. If he holds his hands low, I'm going to punch him in the face.' I have kind of the same gameplan. Whatever he gives me, that's what I'm taking.”

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