It’s my passion, the gym, and everything that goes around it — Rocky Ramirez, owner of Westside Power Gym

Jackson Wink Academy has made Albuquerque a hub for MMA, but its influence goes far beyond the Octagon. Former Jackson Wink MMA Fighter Rocky Ramirez is proof.

He coached the Rio Rancho High School Boys powerlifting team to back-to-back state titles and on top of that Ramirez is the owner of Westside Power Gym in Rio Rancho. 

Ramirez grew up in Riverside California. His father was a pro boxer. Ramirez was named after boxing legend Rocky Marciano. Fighting has always been a part of his identity. At the time, however, he didn’t consider himself to be a fighter. 

“Because he gave me that name, growing up, I was bullied, I was challenged,” Ramirez said. “He would teach me and I still wouldn’t fight, that’s just not the way I was.”

Until one day, he snapped. Two bullies attacked him and he unleashed his father’s training. Ramirez realized he liked to fight.

Rocky Ramirez in the ring

As years passed, Ramirez became a fireman in Raton while training in Kajukenbo and Hakurou jiu jitsu. It was one of his Senseis who introduced him to future MMA trainer and co-owner of Jackson Wink Academy, Greg Jackson.

“He actually came to Raton, and he trained with me for a day then he invited me to come train with him here [in Albuquerque].” Ramirez said. “I was still a fireman. On my days off I would come to Albuquerque to train and to get my a** kicked.” he jokingly added. 

Eventually, Ramirez relocated to Albuquerque to train full-time. As an MMA fighter, he became known as ‘The Angry Aztec,’ and compiled a 6-5 record. In 2016, he defeated heavily favored 24-year-old Roy Stucker at the age of 38, which would be his last fight.

“Not many fighters can say that Greg [Jackson] was in their corner,” said Ramirez. “I literally trained with Mike Winkeljohn… I’m so lucky.”

During his MMA career, his desire to own a gym grew. Ramirez would use money from his fight paychecks to buy gym equipment and put them in storage, waiting for the time he would open his own gym.

“One of these days, I am going to have so much gym equipment that I’m going to have to find a building,” Ramirez said.

He did. Westside Power Gym started in a garage, and would soon end up in the Rio Rancho location on Sara Road where it operates today.

“I don’t want it to be pretty, I want it to be old school, hard core,” Ramirez said. “It’s my passion, the gym, and everything that goes around it.”

Ramirez takes pride in his gym’s identity. He does not want a sales team or membership specialists. He wants to be the one to give the tour of the gym, sign people up, and to develop those relationships with his members. 

At Westside Power Gym, Ramirez, a second degree black belt, teaches jiu jitsu, boxing, kickboxing and sparring. But his knowledge extends beyond the realm of MMA. He also coaches bodybuilding, powerlifting and strongman. Outside of the gym, he coaches football and powerlifting at Rio Rancho High School.  He has more than 100 students.

“That’s what we’re here for as coaches, to encourage you guys, and make you better not only better players but better men,” Ramirez said.

Rocky Ramirez hits the mitts with Mike Winkeljohn. Winkeljohn is one of the co-owners of Jackson Wink Academy. (Photo courtesy of Rocky Ramirez)