Fresh off his UFC Milwaukee victory, “Slow” Mike Rodriguez is taking some time to enjoy the holidays before it’s right back to work in 2019.
Rodriguez first burst onto the scene last summer when he earned his UFC contract on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Since then Rodriguez’s life has changed a bit.
“It’s been crazy,” Rodriguez told BJPenn.com when asked about his life after Contender Series. “The love and support from people that I’m getting, not just locally but everyone around the world. it’s been awesome. It’s been really great.”
Since officially inking his deal with the UFC, Rodriguez has gone 1-1 in the Octagon. He lost his debut back in April at UFC 223 to Devin Clark. However, he bounced back in a big way this past weekend as he TKO’ed Adam Milstead to earn his first W inside the Octagon.
“I was nervous heading into the fight,” Rodriguez said of the fight. “I was nervous because I was coming off a loss, I was like, man I’m not sure, I had a little bit of doubt but as camp went on and I kept putting the pieces together I just started feeling it you know.”
Indeed, it sure looked like Mike Rodriguez put it together in Milwaukee. There’s little doubt that he will continue to improve and possibly become a key player in the dangerous light heavyweight division. After all, he has been honing his craft with a couple of brothers that know their way around the Octagon: Dan and Joe Lauzon.
“I’ve been training with the Lauzon brothers about six years consecutively,” Rodriguez said. “I used to go there before just when I had camps back when I was an amateur. Then I was like alright I need to step it up and do this full time. That’s when I made the transition.”
The 205-pound division is in an interesting spot. Daniel Cormier will soon relinquish his light heavyweight title so Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson can fight for it in the main event of UFC 232. Besides that, the division seems to be wide open.
Could Mike Rodriguez go from unranked to title contender in 2019? Why not. At 6’4 and possessing a reach of 82.5 the Jon Jones comparisons are already out there.
“Absolutely, absolutely, I get it all the time,” said Mike when asked about the Jon Jones comparisons. “People come up to me and say, ‘oh man you’re just like Jon Jones, blah blah blah.’ I guess so. The things that work for him work for me in the cage because we have similar builds.”
What do you think the future holds for Mike Rodriguez?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/21/2018.