Gregory ‘Robocop’ Rodrigues: UFC fighting to move up the middleweight ranks

Rick Olivares –

September 14, 2022 | 2:43 p.m.

MANILA, Philippines — The man nicknamed “Robocop” continues to progress through the middleweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

On Sunday, September 18 (Manila time), Rodrigues will have another chance to climb the ranks dominated by current champion Israel Adesanya. The 30-year-old Brazilian will take on 33-year-old Nigerian-American Chidi Njokuani in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Song at UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Rodrigues (12-4) is coming off a sensational first-round knockout of Julian Marquez on June 18, while Njokuani (22-7) is on a two-fight UFC winning streak, including a devastating knockout of Dusko Todorovic on May 21. .

The upcoming fight against Njokuani will be Rodrigues’ fifth UFC bout in the last 15 months.

“I love it,” enthused Rodrigues of his frequent UFC fight miles. “I am grateful and thank God every day for my career. Before the UFC, if I fought twice a year, it was already a lot.

When I was doing Jiu Jitsu (before mixed martial arts), I was competing every week. I told my agent that I wanted to be active in the UFC. Every three months, I want to fight.

The Brazilian will get his wish this Sunday as he takes on another knockout artist in Njokuani. But Rodrigues is confident in his chances.

“My evolution is visible,” he said. Rodrigues lost by knockout to Filipino American Jordan Williams in Dana White’s Contender Series in September 2020. Since that loss, Rodrigues has returned to Legacy Fighting Alliance where he won two matches and then received the call at the UFC where he is 3 years old. -1.

“My first UFC win was against a badass in Dusko Todorovic and he’s a badass,” Rodrigues explained. “Then Jun Yong Park. Asians have a lot of heart. They are warriors. Then it was a tough loss against Armen Petrosyan who was better than me that night.

“But I changed myself. Win or lose, I need to learn and change to be better. After the loss against Petrosyan, I trained with Gilbert Burns working on my grappling and striking. This fight against Julian, I was in the best shape.

This Sunday, Rodrigues declared himself 100% fit and ready for the Nigerian-American.

“I respect Njokuani. He has skills and is a formidable fighter. But I’m not the guy who fought in Dana White’s Contenders series. I’m ready for Chidi and I want him to be 100%. We’re going to put on a show. That’s what I want.

“My first baby is going to be born next month (October). I’m so happy and nervous. My wife is in Florida. And the baby can come anytime. If I can win and my daughter is born, that’s a dream come true. My life has certainly changed for the better.

Filipino fans will be able to watch Chidi Njokuani vs. Gregory Rodrigues on Sunday on the Premier Sports Channel on Skycable and Cignal as well as the TapGo TV streaming app.

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