Coming off of yet another big win, UFC strawweight contender Marina Rodriguez is ready for the big game. With her last win over Mackenzie Dern at UFC Vegas 39, she feels the title shot is within reach. There are some notable names in her way, namely Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Carla Esparza. Regardless, she’s put on a great three fight win streak with a knockout of Amanda Ribas, a close fight with Michelle Waterson and now Dern. A title shot is perhaps one win away for Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is proud of her work. Having first started in 2013, she’s worked hard and has a “pulled up by her bootstraps” feeling from what she’s accomplished so far.
“In 2013 I practiced my first Muay Thai class at my academy, Thai Brasil Floripa, with my trainer Marcio Malko, just to have a better physical condition, to lose weight. There I continue to this day becoming the fourth best athlete in the world!”
Marina Rodriguez and Her Recent Run
After her one loss to Carla Esparza in 2020, Rodriguez has put in overtime in 2021 to bounce back. As mentioned above, she notched a win over Ribas, Waterson and now Dern. It’s been a hell of a 2021 for Rodriguez and she’s ecstatic with her results.
“I’m very happy with my performances in my last 3 fights this year!” Rodriguez says proud of her work she’s put in.
In her fight with Dern, Marina Rodriguez found herself in a tough situation. Dern managed to get the fight to the ground which is a death sentence for most people in the division. With Dern’s Jiu Jitsu background and her very brutal ground and pound, most women would have crumbled. But Rodriguez survived the round and said nerves didn’t get the best of her.
“To be honest I was very calm, even being in a disadvantaged position. I was calm and managed to nullify any of her attacks. My specific grappling training that I did with my Coach Igor Soares worked very well.”
Going back to her corner after the assault, Rodriguez was calm, cool and collected. It was that moment that both Rodriguez and her coach knew that they had properly prepared for the fight.
“First thing I said to my Head Coach Marcio Malko when I got back to the corner, ‘I’m fine.’ There he already knew that I would come back much stronger for the other rounds.”
The Path That Lies Ahead
The future is bright for Marina Rodriguez. Sitting at number four in the division, Rodriguez is ready to get back to work in early 2022. “I believe that the beginning of next year I’ll be ready for my next fight.”
Two of the names ahead of her are Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Carla Esparza. Rodriguez thinks that Jedrzejczyk has been sitting on her ranking for too long. Media took off and ran with her comments but Rodriguez doesn’t mean any disrespect for the former champ. She just wants to see a fair shake for the entire division. Of course, Rodriguez welcomes a fight and would love to welcome her back to fighting.
“I believe that just because she is 19 months without fighting she should drop some positions in the rankings because there are many girls fighting 2-3 times a year looking for their chance to get higher up in the rankings. It would certainly be an excellent fight, even if she already said that she has no interest in fighting me, she made a lot of history at strawweight, there is her story!”
And of course there’s the other former champion, the one who handed Marina Rodriguez her first professional loss: Carla Esparza. Rodriguez believes her path and Esparza’s will cross again, but this time, it will be for all the marbles.
“I will definitely meet Esparza later on! I had problems at the end of my preparation against her which affected my performance in the fight. A new dispute between us will happen for the belt!”
After the performance Marina Rodruguez put on at UFC Vegas 39, she deserves that break until the new year. In the meantime, she’ll continue to improve and sharpen her skills even more.