주요 콘텐츠로 건너뛰기
Marina Rodriguez of Brazil prepares to fight Michelle Waterson in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 08, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Athletes

Marina Rodriguez And The Will To Be The Best

Strawweight Enters Latest Main Event Saturday With Eyes On The Biggest Prize

When the strawweight title goes up for grabs November 12 at Madison Square Garden, few will be watching with keener interest than Marina Rodriguez.

"Weili Zhang has better chances of winning this fight,” she says. “She's the more well-rounded, tougher fighter and she's hungry to regain her title. I believe Carla Esparza has a chance to win, like she beat Rose [Namajunas] the last time out. MMA is surprising, you can never tell for sure, you just have to watch and wait for the result.

Pre-Order UFC 281: Adesanya vs. Pereira

“What motivates me the most for this fight is knowing that the title will be on the line next week and we'll know who will possibly be my next opponent. This gives me the confidence and motivation to win this fight on Saturday.”

Marina Rodriguez of Brazil warms up prior to her fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 08, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)

Marina Rodriguez of Brazil warms up prior to her fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 08, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)


Saturday, of course, is Rodriguez’s latest main event slot versus Amanda Lemos at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. There are those who would argue Rodriguez was already at the front of the line for a strawweight title shot. Her lone pro loss was a debated split decision to the current champion, Esparza, and she’d knocked off both strawweight contenders last featured in a main event: Mackenzie Dern and Yan Xiaonan. So why take such a dangerous fight against another rising contender like Lemos when she might just as easily have sat at home and waited for the phone to ring after UFC 281?

VEGAS FREE FIGHTS: Amanda Lemos vs Michelle Waterson-Gomez | Marina Rodriguez vs Amanda Ribas

"I agree with all of them,” she says of the voices that think she’s already done enough for a title shot. “But the UFC runs the show. I only have to do my job, which is to win fights until I get to the belt. Words won't take me there; we have to prove it inside of the Octagon. We took this fight that doesn't make much sense in terms of ranking, but we're here to do our job and make our way towards the belt.”

Regardless of the reasoning for putting herself in harm’s way this Saturday, fans will be the true winners in what promises to be one of the great bouts the division has seen in recent years. While both fighters have submission victories on their résumés and are comfortable if the fight goes to the mat, both have also arrived at this moment in large part on the strength of some swift and lethal striking. If the fight stays on the feet, the recipe for Fight of the Night will have all its ingredients.

Marina Rodriguez Has Leveled Up
fight pass logo
Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

This video is not available in your country

There was a problem while loading content. Please try again.

Marina Rodriguez Has Leveled Up
/

"I always prepare myself for the toughest fight of my life. This time it wasn't different. I know she's a very tough, very aggressive fighter, and this fits perfectly with my gameplan, which is to try and find the knockout as soon as possible.”

MORE FIGHT NIGHT: Fight By Fight Preview | Fighters On The Rise 

Since defeating Maria Oliveira (herself now a UFC fighter) on the Brazilian edition of Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2018, it was evident from the jump that Rodriguez had a certain fire in her game that meant she wouldn’t be dwelling outside the rankings for long. And with nearly every fight, a continued evolution in her game has been equally apparent.

"The only difference is that I've been through a lot of adversities. I've been through it all inside of the Octagon, and I believe the biggest difference is that today I'm more experienced, resilient and I have a much greater resolve to become the champion.”

Marina Rodriguez Has Her Eye On Strawweight Gold
fight pass logo
Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

This video is not available in your country

There was a problem while loading content. Please try again.

Marina Rodriguez Has Her Eye On Strawweight Gold
/

At this level, getting better at your craft isn’t unusual. But it’s a testament to her longtime coach, Marcio Malko, that the pair can continue to find ways to elevate and sustain a dogged rise to the strawweight elite. But how?

November's 10 Best Fights

"The best answer for this is: the will to be the best in the world. I must showcase this in every fight, otherwise we'll never get there. My main goal is to be the champion, so I must show it in every fight, I must evolve every day to get there and be the champion.

Rise Of Marina Rodriguez
fight pass logo
Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

This video is not available in your country

There was a problem while loading content. Please try again.

Rise Of Marina Rodriguez
/

“Ever since I started fighting, me and my head coach had a plan. Our ambition to be the best in the world is what makes me want it more and more each day. Our goal was always to get into the UFC, to stay in the UFC, and become world champions.”

CO-MAIN PREVIEW: Neil Mangy vs Daniel Rodriguez

She says this with her trademark intensity that conveys the seriousness of her words. Asked what goals she has for herself outside of being the champion, and her answer is just as direct.

"Aside from being the champion…I just want to be the champion. It's all I think about, it's my only focus. After I make it happen, I'm sure I will be able to think of something else and I will be able to fulfill other dreams that I'll only have after becoming the champion.”

UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs Lemos took place live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 5, 2022. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!