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Daniel Rodriguez punches Neil Magny in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 05, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
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Daniel Rodriguez Has Been Through It All

Experience Is A Key Factor In Daniel Rodriguez's Confidence Heading Into UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs Almeida

Every so often there is a fight that features two athletes that are so confident in their abilities that they choose to forgo all the tools at their disposal in order to prove a point.

That’s exactly why Daniel Rodriguez accepted to fight Ian Machado Garry at UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs Almeida.

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“The only reason I accepted this fight is because he said he could out strike me,” Rodriguez told UFC.com. “I’m going to hold him to that and I’m going to see if he goes for a takedown or not because everybody knows my style and I ain’t shooting for no takedowns.”

Daniel Rodriguez punches Li Jingliang of China in a 180-pound catchweight fight during the UFC 279 event at T-Mobile Arena on September 10, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Daniel Rodriguez punches Li Jingliang of China in a 180-pound catchweight fight during the UFC 279 event at T-Mobile Arena on September 10, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


The 36-year-old welterweight has made a lot of money with his fists, and he welcomes the opportunity to teach Machado Garry a lesson this weekend.

“I don’t think he’s ready for my caliber quite yet,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like they’re building him up, giving him not so tough opponents, and I’m as tough as it gets. Up and down the rankings.”

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Machado Garry has impressed through his first four fights in the UFC, all of which came on big PPV cards. He’s outspoken, he’s just 25 years of age, and he’s flashy. And that’s very much the opposite of Rodriguez.

And if he’s being honest, Rodriguez isn’t very impressed by the Irishman thus far.

Daniel Rodriguez punches Kevin Lee in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 28, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Daniel Rodriguez punches Kevin Lee in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 28, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


“He talks a lot and tries to portray himself as some kind of Conor McGregor, but there’s only one Conor McGregor and there will only be one Conor McGregor and he’s not it,” Rodriguez said. “He’s got high-volume, pretty decent striking, and pretty decent footwork, but he’s nothing special.”

Rodriguez currently sits as the No. 15-ranked welterweight in the world, and he’s determined to keep that spot and make it clear that Machado Garry isn’t ready to face the upper echelon yet.

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“D-Rod” ran the gauntlet to earn that number by his name. It wasn’t all pretty, but he was constantly evolving thanks to bouts against the likes of Tim Means, Nicolas Dalby, Mike Perry, Kevin Lee, Li Jingliang, and Neil Magny.

“You know what, I’m going to go ahead and say it,” Rodriguez began. “I’ve been through it all in the Octagon.”

“I’ve been knocked down, I’ve come back, I’ve taken a loss, I’ve dominated. I’ve done it all. I’ve been through everything you can think of in the Octagon. I’m confident in my skill set. I’m confident in my preparation. I’m confident that I’m going to go out there and finish this fight.”

Daniel Rodriguez punches Li Jingliang of China in a 180-pound catchweight fight during the UFC 279 event at T-Mobile Arena on September 10, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Daniel Rodriguez punches Li Jingliang of China in a 180-pound catchweight fight during the UFC 279 event at T-Mobile Arena on September 10, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


It would be a big win for Rodriguez, who is well-aware that Machado Garry is one of the rising fighters in the division. Hand delivering “The Future” his first loss and putting a tumultuous 2022 behind him is exactly what he needs.

“I feel like I am ready to live up to the expectations that I have set for myself and stop his hype train,” Rodriguez said. “I expect me to go out there and finish this fight. I’ve been training really hard for a long time. This is the most dedicated and most consistent that I’ve been for a long time. I feel like the old me again.”

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The old “D-Rod” is bound to come out in the Spectrum Center this weekend. The gritty, boxing heavy version of “D-Rod” that helped him quickly establish himself as a force to be reckoned with.

And he’s confident that Machado Garry will quickly realize that claiming he is the better striker was a big mistake.

“He’s never been hit by someone that hits as hard as me and hits hard as consistently as I do,” Rodriguez said.

“I guarantee that I’m going to have him backing up the whole fight.”

UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs Almeida took place live from the Spectrum Center in Charlotte on May 13, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass