Daniel Rodriguez isn’t the talkative type.
You won’t find the Californian welterweight trash talking in interviews or calling out opponents in the Octagon. He believes that the performances he has turned in during his nine-fight win streak speak for themselves and that, sooner or later, he will start fighting opponents in the top 15.
And even though patience is a virtue that the 33-year-old Rodriguez has shown time and time again, it’ becoming increasingly difficult for him to hold his tongue.
“Once I got to the UFC, I realized that there is a ladder to climb. For the most part I let my fighting speak for itself. I’m quiet for the most part, but I’ll tell you this, it’s getting really hard to be quiet,” Rodriguez told UFC.com. “So, I’m going to start making noise real soon. I’m going to handle my business and keep climbing and they won’t be able to ignore what I’m doing.”
“D-Rod” has been impressive in each of his first three UFC bouts and has a chance to notch his fourth victory of 2020 on Saturday against veteran Nicolas Dalby. It’s a showdown that he didn’t expect, but after both Rodriguez and Dalby were left without dance partners it made sense to schedule the two for UFC 255.
Being the type of fighter that is ready for whoever, whenever is something that Rodriguez hangs his hat on, and that’s exactly why he’s ready to make the walk against Dalby.
“I’ve always been willing to fight anyone. I train all year round and that’s why I’m able to have this short notice calls. It’s the mentality I carry. I’m here to fight. S***, this is my shot man and I’ve made it this far,” Rodriguez said. “A lot of my fights it’s been evident that I can be a serious threat here soon. It’s still my rookie year.”
Rodriguez partly attributes his mentality to the legendary Kobe Bryant, who has influenced millions with his trademark “Mamba Mentality.”
“When I landed in Las Vegas I was wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey and when I win and leave Las Vegas I’m going to be wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey,” Rodriguez said proudly. “I have his book right next to me. His work ethic and just how in-depth it is about his mentality and how he handles competition is truly inspiring to me. He didn’t just leave behind a legacy; he left a way of thinking.”
You might be hard pressed to find a more die-hard Los Angeles sports fan than Rodriguez, who is still celebrating championship seasons by both the Lakers and Dodgers. The only thing left for him to do is earn his fourth win and establish himself as a true contender in the stacked welterweight division.
“What I noticed the most since joining the UFC is that my fanbase has grown more and more each time I fight. I understand I have to make a name for myself by getting solid wins and putting on exciting fights,” Rodriguez said. “I just gotta go out there and fight a dominant fight. I’m going to finish the fight as soon as I can. I’m just going to stay patient and let it come to me.”
“I know I’m going get this knockout; it’s just a matter of when.”
Make sure you watch Rodriguez face Dalby on the UFC 255 prelims which will air live on ESPN2 and ESPN+ at 8pm ET/5pmPT.