LFA 102: Gregory Rodrigues on Contender Series Loss, Matavao Fight


Brazilian middleweight Gregory Rodrigues says he has undergone “a lot of changes to my life” ahead of his return to the cage at LFA 102 this Friday.

For starters, he’s with a new camp, Sanford MMA, having made the move to Florida from the west coast. “Being in Florida was my first option when I moved to the United States two years ago,” Rodrigues told Cageside Press recently. However, he wound up in California instead, after helping some friends with their training camps. There, he became a big part of Black House MMA, going all the way to an appearance on Dana White’s Contender Series last year.

In January of 2021, Rodrigues finally made the move to Florida. “Before I moved, I went here, and I came to Sanford MMA. I talked to Henri Hooft, he’s an amazing guy, amazing coach,” said Rodrigues. “It’s a very nice gym, a lot of great fighters. I came in the gym, twenty or more middleweights in the same place. That’s amazing.”

That sealed the deal for “Robocop,” who also followed his Church, originally from Brazil, as they relocated to Florida.

“I’m happy to be here. I’m feeling at home. It’s the same weather, it’s hot, I feel [like I’m] home right now,” he stated.

The last time we saw Rodrigues was on Dana White’s Contender Series. The fight, against Jordan Williams last September, did not go his way. “I did my best, with what I had. But before the fight, a lot of things happened. I got sick, got an infection in my body, started medicine,” Rodrigues revealed. “You never know what’s going to happen. You never know. You need to be ready for everything.”

That’s not to take anything away from Williams, mind you. “My opponent was so good, he prepared for that. He won, he won the fight. But the people, they see just what happened inside the cage,” observed Rodrigues, adding “before, a lot of things can change the results of the fight. But we did everything we were supposed to.”

Rodrigues is staying positive, noting that he’s already stood up and shaken the dirt off. “Let’s keep going. Nothing’s changed. All things that happen in life make you better.”

Rodrigues is stepping into a middleweight tournament semi-final at LFA 102. He’ll be taking on Al Matavao, with Josh Fremd awaiting in the final. But first and foremost, Gregory Rodrigues is just glad to be fighting at all. “I’m happy to fight him, because I was supposed to fight on February 19, and it did not happen.” Instead, opponent after opponent dropped out.

When it comes to Matavao, “I respect him. I saw his last fight, it was on the Contender [Series] as well. He’s a good fighter, but I think that’s not his division,” said Rodrigues. “It’s not for him. But I’m really excited for this bout, I’m really excited to fight him.”

While the title is just one fight away, that’s not something Rodrigues is focused on at the moment. “My focus is not on the belt. Not right now,” he said. “My focus is on this fight. I need to test him first. Then I’ll think about Josh, I’ll think about the final.”

Yet despite that, it is nice to have a schedule to work to, as a fighter. That’s one benefit of the tournament format. “You can work and focus on the next fight, you know who you’re going to fight,” Rodrigues admitted. “But I like to put in my thoughts [that] my opponent doesn’t have a face. It doesn’t matter if it’s Josh or not. I need to be ready for everybody. But it’s good, it’s good for the business [side of things].”

Watch our full interview with Gregory Rodrigues ahead of LFA 102 above. The event takes place this Friday, March 19, airing live on UFC Fight Pass.


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