Jozef Chen (R) and Tye Ruotolo (ONE Championship)

Jozef Chen Discusses His Promotional Debut at ONE Fight Night 23

19-year-old Jozef Chen has been a breakout star in the world of jiu-jitsu. At ONE Fight Night 23: Ok vs. Rasulov on Friday, Jul. 5, he arrives onto the ONE Championship stage for the first time.

The South African athlete will test his mettle against Tye Ruotolo in a 186-pound submission grappling match. The opportunity and challenge have not shaken the teen ahead of his U.S. primetime debut.

“I have a good idea of what he’s going to do. But, I mean, the best way to test out a lot of these ideas on what may work or may not work is actually having the match,” Chen expressed to ONE.


“I mean, he’s very young. I think he’s a bit older than me, but I assume in our careers, it won’t be the only time we cross paths. So I think it’s a great opportunity for me to test a lot of the stuff I’ve been working on.”

Chen is not bothered by Ruotolo’s experience in the sport. Although he details that is the biggest difference between the two, Chen believes he can navigate around it to advantageous positions.

“I think his style comes as a result of how long he’s trained and kind of the upbringing in jiu-jitsu he’s had. I’m coming up on six years in jiu-jitsu, so I wouldn’t say I have as much intuition with what I necessarily need to do, and so that kind of manifests itself into what could be perceived as a methodical, slower approach.” the teen grappler said.

“Whereas I feel like, since he’s been training for so long, he has a very good idea of what he wants to do in certain positions. So that’s where a lot of this more intuition and dynamic movement really comes into play.”

Chen does not enter the matchup with a lack of confidence—the South African talent plans to put Ruotolo on his back and make the American uncomfortable.

“My idea is definitely to try and test a lot of the skills that I’m trying to work on. So standing position is definitely one that I’m going to try to see what works, see what doesn’t, and try to play from that,” Chen remarked.

“Because if I can get to top position on top of Tye, it’ll be very winning from there. Just generally, you see him want to do his best work from top. So being able to put him in bottom, I think this will be a good strategy for me if I’m able to do that.”

The 19-year-old recognizes how this opportunity can help him grow as an athlete, but more importantly, it is a chance to compete against a star he has been watching for years.

It is truly a chance for him to test himself against the world’s best.

“Tye is definitely one of the more exciting and one of the more well-accomplished grapplers in the sport,” Chen said.

“So, especially for me, outside of how good he is and the level that he’s on, I think one of the things that makes it exciting for me is that I’ve been watching him for, man, since I was a yellow, orange belt. So being able to compete against him, it’s a very cool experience.”

Although there is no gold on the line for Chen, that is not his ultimate goal.

The B-Team representative wants to put on a show and display the art of jiu-jitsu to the masses.

“I’m very proud to be able to compete at this level at this point. I think it’s very cool, because, generally, for me, jiu-jitsu, I wanna have very good jiu-jitsu. The competition is more secondary to my jiu-jitsu. Being able to compete and display my jiu-jitsu, that’s what really makes me happy,” the 19-year-old stated.

“It’s very awesome to be able to compete against someone that you looked up to for so long.”

For many, debuting on a global platform can be daunting. However, Chen believes his prior competitions against top grapplers will allow him to shut out the spotlight and perform to his highest level on Friday, July 5.

“It’s not the first time. You know, when I first came to the U.S., like two years ago, and then just having trained with and competed with so many people that I’ve studied a lot … you know, it’s not a new experience to me,” Chen stated.

ONE Fight Night 23: Ok vs. Rasulov airs live and free on Prime Video at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT for all Amazon Prime subscribers in the U.S. and Canada.