When a fighter returns to training following a win, there’s typically a narrative. Fighters coming off a loss return with a chip on their shoulder and things they know they need to work on. Fighters coming off a win may still have stuff they need to work on, but are focused on building momentum.
For Mike Rodriguez, it was… both? Neither? Rodriguez’s September fight against Ed Herman, by all accounts, should have ended after Rodriguez landed a knee to the midsection of the veteran. After the referee mistakenly called it a low blow and allowed Herman a chance to recover, Herman bounced back to win.
So how does Rodriguez feel about all of it in retrospect?
“Everybody had some feelings towards it. I was mad about it. It’s a big mistake. The ref is human – we all make mistakes. I don’t hate him, there was no ill will towards him,” Rodriguez shared. “It just sucked that the Commission couldn’t be like ‘yeah, our guy messed up, we’ll change that to a NC’. They just were like ‘nah, flat out’. I think that was kind of crummy.”
But while the situation didn’t pan out for him in terms of his official record, he ultimately felt much more like the winner. Some of that is due to the fact that he was booked again quickly with another fighter coming off of a win in Danillo Marques; some is due to how those around him, including his employers, handled it.
“It was weird, my record says otherwise, but the world is treating me as I won. So it’s kind of hard to feel like a loser, when everyone was in your corner,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that I had to take a loss for it, but the UFC still covered me on the financial aspect too.”
More than his friends congratulating him on a win and his paycheck coming out to the appropriate amount, Rodriguez also found peace in his performance. As he heads into this weekend, that’s what he hopes to build on.
“My whole thing was consistency. I want to be consistent. I feel like in my career in the UFC, I haven’t been consistent. So that’s the main thing on my mind,” he said. “I beat Prachnio – it was a great performance. I performed really well against Ed [Herman]. And that’s what I want to keep doing, performing to the best of my abilities. That’s the only thing I have in my mind right now.”
Rodriguez looks to make it officially one in a row, this weekend at UFC Vegas 18, where he takes on Danillo Marques. That fight will be part of the ESPN+ preliminary card.
You can listen to the full audio of this interview at 28:49.