Las Vegas, NV — Daniel Rodriguez had one heck of a comeback at UFC Vegas 7. After being dropped by Dwight Grant, he regrouped, came back and finished Grant — all within half a round.
“I was definitely stunned. First time I ever got dropped in an MMA fight, first time I ever had to weather a storm like that. I think I did well,” Rodriguez (13-1) observed following the bout, which took place at the UFC Apex on Saturday night.
Rodriguez admitted that during that early barrage from Grant, he was mainly “trying to figure out where the hell I was at.”
“My main focus was get my back to the cage and work my way back up,” he said. “First time that ever happened, and I’m glad I was able to weather that storm.”
Weather it he did. And the finish was equally violent. Given the circumstances surrounding the bout — both Rodriguez and Grant lost their original opponents at weigh-in on Friday — it’s safe to say the match-up exceeded expectations.
So has Rodriguez’s UFC run so far. He’s won three straight in the octagon, with two finishes, all in 2020. Overall, the welterweight is on a nine-fight win streak.
“I definitely feel like I’m on the radar now,” Rodriguez told media outlets backstage Saturday. “This fight week, even Dana White pointed out that the fight that was originally scheduled [against Takashi Sato] was really big for me. It gives me a lot of confidence, makes me want to get better and keep fighting.”
With Sato dropping out — although he made weight, the Nevada athletic commission did not clear him to fight — the short-notice fight with Grant was really nothing new, Rodriguez added. “Since I’ve been in the UFC, I’ve actually had to take a couple short-notice fights. Actually almost every fight has been short-notice, even this one.” Which gave him all of a day to prepare. So much for that fight camp that had focused on Sato.
As for the Japanese knockout artist, asked if he would be looking past him for a higher ranked fighter next, Rodriguez said simply that “I came to fight, I’ll fight anybody. I just want to continue rising through the ranks.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 7 post-fight press conference with Daniel Rodriguez above.