Daniel Rodriguez had a fantastic rookie year in the UFC. He went 3-1 with two finishes, and many felt he was on the wrong side of a decision in that lone loss. Even UFC 255 opponent Nicolas Dalby said he’d felt it was 50/50 going to the judges.
“2020 was a reflection of all the hard work that I do and that I continue to do, and you know, it was an amazing rookie year for me. But I’m still humble and will remain humble,” Rodriguez said in an interview with Cageside Press leading up to his upcoming fight at UFC Vegas 23. “Even though I lost my last fight to [Nicholas] Dalby, my spirit never got down in my mind, and you know in in the fans’ eyes, which is really most important. You know, I’m just really grateful for the fan’s support at that time. When I took the loss, you know, I didn’t feel like a loser.”
The thing about 2020 for Rodriguez was; he never had a full fight camp, and for his upcoming fight with Mike Perry, he’s got it.
“It has been a long camp. It will be my first time fighting in the UFC with an actual full camp, so I am very prepared, man. The fans are going to see a whole new version of me in April,” Rodriguez said.
“D-Rod” spent a good portion of his fight camp out in New Mexico at the BMF Ranch, a gym that was established by Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone.
“I’ve trained out at the BMF several other times before, but after my last fight, I needed some seclusion, you know, from all of the distractions in Los Angeles,” Rodriguez said. “I first went out to the ranch to get in shape because I caught COVID in December. I spent Christmas and New Years with COVID. I felt like it had some effect on me, but once I got to BMF, I quickly got back to myself.”
Rodriguez’s opponent Perry has been on his radar for a while.
“Yeah man, Perry has been on my radar. He has fought some of my teammates like Cowboy and Mickey Gall. He fought Alan Jouban as well. So, yeah, he’s been on my radar,” Rodriguez said. “But you know also; he’s been on everybody’s radar. That guy puts himself on the radar. He makes himself a target man, you know, he makes himself a character that no one likes, and everyone wants to fight him. So, of course, I want some of that action. He’s a big name.”
His fight with Perry on April 10 will take place on the UFC’s second fight card on ABC. Rodriguez knows how big of an opportunity it is.
“I think the UFC did a great job with setting up this fight to open up the card. Stylistically me and him make for a f*cking war. It is written all over it. It is a huge opportunity for me,” Rodriguez said.
“I feel like everyone is circling this fight as a war, but at the same time, I feel like I’m like, I’m the better fighter technically and in all aspects of this fight. So yeah, the fight will be fun for the fans, but I’m going to pick him apart and eventually finish him. I want to completely outclass him, and being on national television is like the perfect platform for me, to you know, really display who I am as a fighter to pretty much the whole country.”
Rodriguez predicts a second-round finish.
“I’m coming for a finish in the second round. He is going to try and be explosive and do what he does in the first round, but I’m confident he will gas, and I will take over,” Rodrigeuz said.
“We are both coming off a loss, but I feel I am like the fresher fighter. I’m the faster, stronger fighter, and I feel like he is on his way out the door; and this is my perfect opportunity to solidify myself as a top contender in this division,” added Rodriguez. “Perry is at the bottom of the next level that I’m trying to get at. He has a big name, and I’m trying to take all of the shine he has.”
Daniel Rodriguez vs. Mike Perry takes place this Saturday, April 10 at UFC Vegas 23 (UFC on ABC 2).