LAS VEGAS – Daniel Rodriguez is aware of he’s not the A-side in his upcoming matchup with Kevin Lee, however he sees the UFC on ESPN 30 conflict as an enormous alternative.
“I think this is one of those opportunities that you see when, like, the nobody goes against the somebody,” Rodriguez instructed reporters, together with MMA Junkie, at Wednesday’s media day on the UFC Apex. “This is going to be one of them cases where that nobody becomes a somebody. I feel like I’m very underestimated and underrated in this in the welterweight division, you know? And I feel like this is an opportunity to show everybody what I’m really made of.”
Rodriguez (15-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) and Lee (18-6 MMA, 11-6 UFC) meet on the ESPN-broadcast essential card of Saturday’s occasion on the UFC Apex. Lee was initially slated to face the undefeated Sean Brady, however when harm pulled that matchup aside, Rodriguez volunteered to step in as a alternative.
“After the last fight, there was a big question, like, ‘What’s next? Who’s next?’” Rodriguez stated. “Opportunity came up – big-ass name, big opportunity.”
A former UFC interim title challenger, Lee has been competing within the promotion for greater than seven years, banking a number of headlining slots alongside the best way. Meanwhile, Rodriguez debuted for the UFC simply 18 months in the past however has made some noise in that point and believes he’s primed for a breakout second.
To achieve success, he’ll possible be pressured to cope with Lee’s superior wrestling recreation, however Rodriguez says that’s nothing new. After all, he had been making ready to struggle Abubakar Nurmagomedov in July earlier than in the end being paired with Preston Parsons.
“At the end of the day, I feel like I’m a way better striker than him,” Rodriguez stated. “He may have some challenges on the feet with the wrestling. Everybody’s like, ‘Oh, man, he’s going to take you down,’ this and that – but, you know, I don’t care about that, bro. My whole career I’ve been training for dudes trying to take me down because my hands are so good, you know? I mean, that last fight camp, I was supposed to fight the Russian, and if I was scared about wrestling or takedowns, I wouldn’t try to fight that guy, you know? So, Kevin Lee is just another wrestler who’s going to try to take me down once I start to put it on him.”
A victory would give Rodriguez a three-fight profitable streak within the UFC’s stacked welterweight division, to not point out convey him to a powerful 12-1 over his previous 13 general matchups – and provides him a signature title on that listing.
The 24-year-old “D-Rod” is aware of what’s at stake, and with Lee coming back from a 17-month layoff and shifting up a weight class within the course of, Rodriguez plans on capitalizing on the second.
“My job is to stay ready and prepared for these short-notice little fights that pop up and opportunities,” Rodriguez stated. “I really feel nice. I’m in my prime. I’m on a roll proper now. I obtained nice momentum, and I really feel like all that’s going to play come into play.
“I’ve been active. He hasn’t, you know? So I’ve been back-to-back hard fight camps, tough fights, and I feel like that’s going to show. That has a lot to do with how mentally focused I am in this fight, so I’m ready.”
To see the complete interview with Rodriguez, take a look at the video above.