Average to Savage
Average to Savage

Episode · 1 month ago

Daniel Rodriguez | Average to Savage EP156

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This is the one hundred and fifty-sixth episode of the Average to Savage podcast featuring UFC welterweight Daniel Rodriguez. Paul Guarino and special co-host Orlando Magic point guard Michael Carter-Williams talked with Daniel Rodriguez discussing his journey to the UFC, being ranked in the top 15, and what's next for him after he returns from his injury.  

Follow Daniel Rodriguez https://www.instagram.com/d_rod_ufc/ 

This podcast interview with Daniel Rodriguez was originally recorded on November 21, 2021

...this is the average to Savage podcastwith paul Guerrino. Everyone in anyone, athletes, celebsand much more today's episode is powered by natural effects. Naturaleffects has all different types of CBD products, They have oils, hemp, flower,muscle recovery, gel, delta eight gummies in their new CBD Seltzer's.They're sold throughout the tri state area and smoke shops, conveniencestores, gas stations and liquor stores also check out natural effects dot netand use the code PG 15 for 15% off. That's natural effects dot net And usethe code PAT 15 for 15% off. Go check them out. So up everybody welcome backto another episode of the Average Savage podcast. We've got a specialguest host, Michael carter Williams and our special guest today. So, UFCFighter, Daniel, Rodriguez, Daniel, how's it going? Good, good man. Happyto have a beer and get to finally talk to you guys. I know you've been tryingto do is for no good. Yeah, yeah, I'm happy. We uh we finally got together todo this, I got questions for, you know, every every fighter I meet, You know,like I said, I'm just a, just a fan in general. Um so you know, like, first Ialways like to ask guys like how did they, like how did you get intofighting? Like what was your, was there a moment in your life where yourparents fighters, did you watch somebody like what would, whatgravitated you towards wanting to fight? My experience coming into this mm, agame was really like the street experience, you know, uh you know, it'sbeing on the street and and you know, obviously, you know, being a You know,being a little knucklehead out there, getting locked up when I was 15 and upuntil that point really, I didn't really like fighting, you know, until Istarted going to juvenile hall and like the boot camps and like little littleplacement homes and stuff like that, where are really just kind of kind of,you know, got kind of cold hearted for a little bit, you know, and and even upuntil like, you know, almost like going to L. A county jail and spending somuch time there, you know, being in and out in and out, you know, I got into alot of sh it out there, so I kind of had this little street fighter, youknow mentality and style coming into the sport, you know that when I firstwalked into the gym, the coaches were like, like man, this guy's got some rawfucking Yeah, he got that raw, you know? Yeah, just paid a lot of attention tome and you know, little by little I became the main focus in the gym, youknow, I always felt like before I started getting in trouble and all that.Uh like I used to play, I was like quarterbacks, like flag football. LikeI grew up in the projects and ship, you know, like both of both my parents,like both gang members and you know that's kind of like the footsteps I waslike supposed to follow but um you know I kind of fell away from sports youknow because we like moved around a lot you know my mom was like single momsand stuff and I was never able to really just settle down and really justyou know uh going you know so hood to hood I learned a lot of learned a lotof like you know a lot of fighting experience, a lot of survival stuff youknow. So um that's really what it was up until like you know like I said 2425 years old where I decided I was like yo I started having kids well I had myfirst kid you know like something's gotta change you know I got to dosomething. I even try to like get into the marines, I didn't try to go tomarines and she's trying to do anything I could but you know at that point Ihad I had sucked it all up and my only option was construction and I wasworking at a construction site in downtown L. A. And I was like get offwork you know passed by the past by this gym because it was called tap out.You know I'll tell my girls I'll be like man like I want to do that shiplike I love it you know because I remember this one time I had got out ofjail and my cousin was like, yo come watch his full name rampages, likewatches her name rampage, he's gonna fight tonight, and that's the firsttime I saw UFC and I was like, man, it's just way better than just boxing,you know, like people are kicking elbow and taking down and like, there's somuch more to it, and I just fell in...

...love with the sport and then, you know,I started going to the gym and I just had nothing but you know, streetmentality and you know, it's got me like nine years later from walking intoa gym, I'm you don't want to, you know, uh getting well known in the UFC. Yeah,you know that, I think that mentality, like you said, having that streetmentality and then it channeled in the right direction, right? You know, youcould be, you know, a dangerous human being in the sports world, you know,with that because I mentality, you know, you really can't teach that, like yougotta go through it, you know what I mean? You gotta just you have to gothrough hard times and you know, see things that normal people don't see, so,you know, and that's kind of channeled in the right direction, I feel likeit's damning, they're unbeatable. Yeah, a lot of times, even the announcers ofblack man, he looks so common, there are like my coaches and other black man,he looks like he's comin, they're like, like I just have no emotion towards itbecause, you know, I've been through worse situations than just, you know,I've been a situation what like I've been a fight with my cell mate in jail,like that's that's a whole different ship, you know? And I think like Icarry that, you know, and I think about all that stuff sometimes when I'mbackstage, I'm like, man, I made it through all that, I can make it throughthis, you know, and they're playing with house money now, man, it's cool,it's cool, you know, it's cool. That's the thing, you get a little bitwant more, you know? All right, let's get into the little little, you know,your last fight, um you beat Kevin lee by unanimous decision. Um You put I waswatching myself great performance by you, you know, you're coming in thereas an underdog. Um kind of what's that, like, you know, I mean, I'm sure it'snothing new to you, you're you know, I'm sure you've had the mentality of anunderdog mentality your whole life, so, you know, talk about that a little bit.Yeah, you know, it reminded me of like the time when I first got signed to theUFC, you know, I had fought in the contender series and I didn't getsigned, you know? And I went on and I did one more fight outside the UFC anduh you know what they gave me, they hit me up at the time I was at CowboyCerrone is path uh was just training, you know, just trains trying to getbetter. I didn't want to give up, you know, And I get to qualify 10 means I'mtwo weeks notice, you know, in his hometown. So I was like, man, this iswhat you and there with a veteran, right? Uh yeah, like he had like 20something fights in the UFC already. I'm like, man, I just gotta go outthere and just, you know, just give it all I got, you know, so I stepped intoour two weeks notice, huge, huge underdog and uh, you know, uh just likethis last fight, I was a huge underdog under against uh, you know, kevin lee,you know, he's solid, he's a solid fighter, you know, well known been inthe game a while, you know, it's kind of like the next, the next level up incompetition for me. And uh, you know, I had just fought like three weeks beforethat, you know, before I got the car and I was just like, man, I haven'treally been out of that much out of shape, you know, taking like a little,you know, two week vacation and I had already been a week back into trainingand I was like, now all I gotta do all I gotta really do is just go hard thenext two weeks and then show up and fight, you know, and you know, I was Iwas down and take to accept the challenge and uh you know, no risk, noreward kind of story for me with that one man. Yeah, no, at two of the guysthat come in on late notice, like sometimes you see and then the fights,you know, you know, they just look like they're not prepared, you're not inshape, like you know, they're going there and they, you know lose, but it'snot that big of a deal because you came in on two nights notice, like, you know,it's cool that you have that mentality like no, like I'm about to win this,you know what I mean? Even though I got two weeks like I'm coming into shape asI can, so like I said as a fan, that's you know, that's dope, that's dope tosee, Yeah man, a lot of dudes will step up just, you know, just for thepaycheck, you know? But I play to win, you know, and uh you know, to step upon two weeks notice against kevin lee,...

I had to take the opportunity, I waslike man, I always felt like, yo at the time if this is mad for me and I'm youknow, I'm gonna go out there and I'm gonna win and I'm a shine and I'm gonnado my thing, you know, it's just, you know, if it's meant to be any other way,then that's how it's gonna be, you know, I was just, is that just like beinglike, that's just like being in the street for me like ship, you never knowwhere you're going to fight. Like, you know, like this, this is like different,like foods are getting ready ready for it, you know? Uh but the thing with meis like sh it, I could be walking down the street and someone's trying tofight me like now nowadays little different circumstances and she, youdon't even know if you gave yourself into back in the day when I was walkingdown the street. I used to get a jump on my enemies, you know, and I willnever back down. I will never, I will always be willing to fight, you know, Ithink that I carry that to the UFC and I think that's what fans want to see me.You had a little bit of a hand injury. Um you know, how was that? You know,recovery and what do you think that, you know, when do you think you want toget back in there and against two man? Uh well apparently I'm kind oflike in a little situation where I'm scheduled to have another surgery on my,on my hand December eight and the reason for that is being, is like I got,I got really impatient um you know, like, like as you can tell by my, by mebeing in the UFC having so many fights in such little time like I'm always inthe gym, always you know in shape and ready to go and this is the first timeI ever liked had to like you know, really let let myself heal you know?And uh it's really hard, you know, so I got really impatient, I'll try to, wewent back to training on my own without, without you know, nobody knowing justdoing it on my own and I ended up reinjuring my my hand and you know,that's just by being impatient and not taking the time, but that's that's justlike me being hungry, you know, like I'm trying to stay in the game, youknow, in my mind, I'm like man, I fight at the highest level in the game, likelike all these dudes are getting better and I can't just stay so I got reallyimpatient, you know? And I got in my head and I went and started trainingand messed myself up and right now I'm in a position where I have to decidewhether I get the surgery and it's going to take you know, even a littlebit longer healing time and in my mind I'm like damn, like I already been offthis long, I'm like I'm like I feel like I'm getting out of shape you know?And and on the other hand I got dudes like kevin lee calling me out, you know,and uh, and you know already and I don't mind, like I had like two sidesof you. One side is like, man, you already fought this many times wouldhave messed up. And what's one more time do you get paid at the surgeryagain and then chill out. Uh, and, and the other part of me is like, man, ifyou, you know, I haven't even started training yet. So yeah, I don't evenknow how that's going to feel, you know? And I honestly, I can say I'm leaningtowards getting the surgery, but it's just like having little effect on mebecause I'm like, man, how am I going to stay in the game? I'm like, you know,I'm gonna keep making money. Yeah, I guess you want to keep making thatmoney, you know, I think it's a good thing to you proved yourself thatyou're real and you know, in this, you know, in the game right? Like peopleare, you know excited for you to come back. So like, it's not like your headand you know, it's not like you're got a note, you're, you're not a no nameguy who's injured. And now it's like, no, like when you're, when you're readyand when your time people are going to be like, oh yeah, he's, he's comingback like, you know, he's a for sure watch, he's a good tender and in thedivision. So, you know, at least you've made a name for yourself in that regard.You probably like one of the most active UFC fighters to seven fightssince 2020. Like that. So many guys on that. Yeah, man. So it's like I'msaying with that, like it's real hard...

...for me to like take my gas, you know?But uh, I got to be smarter this time around and think about, you know, Mycareer and and stop thinking like, for instance, a lot of times I think sinceI entered the game a little bit late 25, I'm 34 now. Damn. I wanna get the clockover here. You know, I ain't got the, I was like a few years younger if I wasstill like in my twenties and I'm like, all right, cool. This is nothing. Ithink I'll take a cool six months off. But for me like six months is gonna,you know, I'm getting older. I don't, yeah, I hate that easy because thatmeans you don't have a lot of miles on either. Actually. I don't, and I don'tlike for the most part my fights, I don't take much damage. I don't, I'mnot like getting like in those crazy pick out swarms were like, we'regetting beat up back and forth. You know, my my my winds are pretty, youknow? Uh Yeah, they're pretty, they're pretty good. Come out. They're prettylike touch for the most part. So I gotta go, I gotta ask you got you gotranked in the top 15 as number 15, but then all of a sudden now they unrankedyou. So what, what was that, what first, what was that like to be ranked? Andthen what happened? Well that was like a hugeaccomplishment for me being ranked finally. Um you know, it's just kind oflike, it goes to show like all the hard work I put into this ship, you know,for me, like, oh my on my whole career I've been like climbing up the ranksand I was an amateur, I climbed all the way up to number one in California whenI was, when I was beginning as pro, I climbed up to number one in Californiathen like number two country and then and then to like enter the UFC rankings,that's a whole nother thing. And then like, no, like they put me at number 15,I got bumped down one, but that's cool with me because my name is still in themix things I'm dealing with this injury and you know, it's just, it's just thetime, it's just the time process for me, like if anything, like it's helping meis gonna help me develop other aspects of my game, I'm like all right, cool, Igotta lay off, all I gotta do is just lay off, hit him up with this sh itleft, I still got my job, kicks, punches elbows and I have to startfocusing more on my rapping. You know, I feel like my grappling is prettysolid. I just don't really show it because I love to just, you know ifkevin isn't doing anything to get you down, there's not many that were soyeah, I mean he was able to get me down but like the way that people who havelike he wasn't creating no damage though. Yeah. Yeah, it was like for themost part we were locked up and uh it feels good to know that he wasn't ableto pass my guard or to put me in any like super bad positions and I was ableto recover. Yeah, do strong but a lot of other things are too, so you know Igot a good ops team and really for me like I'm just thinking like there'sother ways that can elevate my game, you know, there's always shipped tolearn, especially in mixed martial arts, you know, this is a constant constantlearning process. Yeah, for sure, for sure. So you know, you said youjust, we're talking about a little bit, you know, different things of howyou're gonna train now that you're injured, but normally what does yourtraining regimen look like? Yeah, normally like when I'm uh invitecamp uh since moving out here to Vegas, one of the main reasons why I moved outhere to Vegas because they have such an amazing what resources we have suchamazing resources, fighters like out here, you know, um, there's the UFCPerformance Institute, you know, where you never go over there and use that.Yeah, yeah man, they got it all, you know, they got the food, they got thetraining, they got therapy, they got the, the recovery meet all the recoveryequipment and uh, you know, as well, there's a ton of Jim's out here, Someof the top fighters in the world, are you? And uh, you know, for me, I wasout, I was training for that mike perry fight with cowboy and we came out hereto Vegas and he kind of like, show me like, you know, well he showed me thecowboy treatment, you know? But you...

...know, he kind of like opened my eyes tolike all the areas that could tap into while I'm out here and uh, I figuredI'd take a year or two out of my life and come out here and focus and thentry to really develop myself as a fighter, you know, as well as like asyndicate is like a ton of fighters out there and that's why I'm mainlytraining that now and, and, and you know, I just was just all, all room forimprovement. Yeah, no, yeah, it definitely looks like it. So what, whatsome of the, like some advice you would give to a young fighter that's, youknow, trying to get into the UFC, right man, I get, I get questions. Uhespecially like from from younger fighters, a lot of get questioned a lotfrom dudes that they think that it's too late. Yeah, no short, I'm like 20something like, I think it might be too late. I'd like to be like, Oh, I'm 24and 22, like I first walked in the gym when I was 25, you know? And all I knewwas just not a street fight, you know? But it's just like I think it's just,you could be anything you want, as long as you put the time and you put thehard working, you know, I think my advice to any like any young up andcomers, like, yo you could do this ship, you know, you just have to work yourasshole, gotta work hard, you know, like what you're doing at practice, youknow, like that ain't enough, it ain't enough. You gotta like, you gotta, yougotta get up and you got to do overtime shift, you gotta like do ship wheneverybody else is not doing, you know, that's the only way you're gonna makeit, that's the way you know how I can and I was always like, I'll go to likemy team practices and ship, but I'll still come home and I still likethere's too much, I felt like I honestly felt like, is that I startedlate, so I have to work twice as hard as my father's been doing this theirwhole life, you know, just to catch up. Yeah, I feel like that's that's that'sthat would be my advice to, you know, any young fighters, this man, you'rejust gonna take time be patient, work hard, give it all you've got plus more,you know, you got to do extra. You know, if you really want to make it and youreally want to get to the top and you gotta you gotta put in that over time,you got to put an extra. You gotta work harder than everybody, you know? Yeah,true. I was I wanted to ask how good bo Yeah, I was gonna I was gonna say I saw2015, you actually did a couple of professional boxing matches. So Iwanted to know like what what you thought of all this mm a versus boxingnow that's happening. Yeah, uh definitely say there's uh boxing as faras the boxing, I stopped boxing because I felt like the promoter played the,you know, and I saw the dirty side. I saw the dirty side of boxing, you know?And uh it really is. Um I did great. My first, my first pro boxing fight. I hadzero boxing experience. It was at a time where I couldn't get no fightsbecause I was I was like, I was killing the game. You know, I had oh, I hadfour fights in a row, cancel on me. This one fight guy showed up like £17over the next fight trip out on this the next fight. The guy got arrestedthe week before the fight because like I guess he had murdered his girlfriendor some ship and like he had heard drunk or something like that. Anotherguy didn't even show up twins and another guy just showed up crazy ourweight and I was like almost I almost gave up man. I was like man I can't geta fight. I just like like it was it was at a time where I had to choose eitherwork and even work or were construction or do despite ship you know because itwas affecting both. I would like have hard days at work and I'll show up andbe like shooting in the gym or I'll be like give it all I got in the gym andshow up tires how it works and it was like causing like you know littleproblems there. So what's wrong with you? Yeah mike. Iknow. I was gonna I was gonna ask your...

...favorite song but a mortgage to knowlike how do you pick your walkout song? Like what like is it something youspend a lot of time on and you're just like whatever. Did you stick with yourfirst one that you've ever chosen? Like what's the man uh for the most part Ialways always have a new song, it's kind of like the kind of song that I'mjust like listening to fight, can't you know, because like music always newmusic and I'm always listening to music. Um man, honestly I've been listening to awhole lot of like young Dolph ladies since he passed away that it is hard,this is hard. I was, I was listening to a young adult before he got before hegot shot, you know, so, so right now that's been like number one on my list.He's like, like he's, you know, rest in peace to him. I'm a huge hip hop fan,you know, every, every time I come out to a fighter's night, but bob, you know,I'm always, I'm always switching up, you know, but it's really like what I'mlistening to during fight camp, what was pumping me up, you know, I was indifferent Yeah, yeah, sure. Um, now I know you were just in Connecticut, sotell me how you originally linked up with our boy James from natural effects fun with James. I met James over man.It was a while back. It was actually, I think it was after, I don't know whenit was man, but he hit me or he had hit me up uh over over instagram and thiswas a while back, it was like right after I had won like a championshipbecause she was with, he was promoting us Devereaux school, which is the uhsound smashed logo and I had won a championship, but I can't remember ifwe had talked before or after that. But yeah, he started sponsoring me and uh,you know, I gotta give it to him. A lot of like sponsors come and go. But thatguy is like persistent. He uh, you know, he, she, I feel like he's gonna blow up,you know, and I feel like he feels the same way about me and uh, you know, wejust, we just carry that same kind of like dr I appreciate that out that back.You know, he's pushing, he's like trying to make sure it happens always.He's always like go, he's always trying to make moves, you know, and you know,I appreciate guys like that, you know, I want to see them shine. So I was like,all right, cool. Let's just like, you know, let's let's let's sneak up histeam up and let's try to make something happen. You know, I'm trying to makesomething happen for myself and I see you is like fun, let's do it dog, youknow? And I don't even know this guy, he's on the way in Connecticut, youknow, but it's just like a person years I fussed with it. And uh, and uh, yeah,like we finally linked up I guess. Um, man must have been out here in Vegasbefore. I was even living out here. Uh we have linked up when we did like somephoto shoots and stuff. And that those guys that were cool, He invited me outto Connecticut and I got to meet his family ship, you know? And and got alittle Garcia low side of the East coast. It was pretty cool bomb as food.Yeah. Yeah, that that piece of spot, you know, they gave us a V. I. P.Treatment and uh man, I'll never forget. It was it was good as time. Yeah.That's awesome. Mhm. Uh So who's your who's your dream fight? If you can findanybody, who would it be, man? If I defy anybody? Uh I want tofight like uh striker. I send my division. Someone that's like, you know,because you know, I got a high striking output. You know, I always, like whenI'm training, I was thinking that fights like man with a fight schoolwere just like sucking each other up. You know, like, like, you know, likethat's what I think about when I'm like, you know, I've been thinking I shouldlike that. And they seem to know I'm sprinting down the street like that shegets me going, You know, I think as fighter, we all kind of think aboutthose kind of fights. You know what I kind of feel like man who's who'ssomeone they could give me a fight like that in this division. You know,options dude. Uh of course I want to...

...fight the champion. You know, that'sthe dream fight for me. But I think like one of those, well, that dreamprice probably be my division. Mm hmm. I said in Moscow Dog, I'll be doing allright miles and all the good fight, you know, because it would be like, becausehe has that kind of, that background. We have this kind of have that soon.Your background where he's from. Miami like streets and shoot. I'm from L. A.Like, you know, or, or an idea is pipe. That would be a banger too, you know?Yeah, I'll be cool. Be cool fight. I made a couple times please. We're cool.We're cool. Yeah, I met, I met Nate and uh, his crew a few times and soliddudes. Yeah, that would be, that would be great. But I would just do it justfor the hype. Yeah. Yeah, it's good. And it's always great. Like, yeah, he'sa pioneer in the sport man. So I would do it just because I don't like them ornothing. But, you know, it's one of the hype fights out there. I think, I thinkUFC just might like, it might be like one of the only sports where it's justlike, sometimes the guys don't even care about the belts. Like the biggerfights. Sometimes we're without belts. Yeah. Well, that's what it's startingto become, since, since MaS Vidal India's did that fight. And rememberwhen, uh, just recently, um, instead of fighting for the title, Uh, for a fivesucking McGregor, you know, and he's like Funk the Bell Brother Gregor. Yeah,we're all looking for the big name. Big money fights. Yeah, sure. All right. Mylast question to both of you guys, uh I think the next UFC like fighters probversus Jose Aldo, who do you guys got? I gotta go, I gotta go my man rob fromboston baby. Yeah, mama, I gotta stick with the hometown. Yeah, I'm a fun withrob font to, you know, just because uh you know, not just because but here thenatural effects from, you know, Jaime talked me out the bottom, but hey, I'ma huge uh josie all those fans, uh you know, definitely a legend future Hallof Famer um you know, held it down, held that belt down for years, you know,and he's still in the game, so yeah, I think I think rob's gonna use that jabhe's got and then, you know, although he kicks a little bit now, but not likehe used to write like I think if he does, you know what I mean? It's it's,you know, that stand ups trouble so good for me, but I think rob wins forsure. Yeah. All right, well, I appreciateboth of you guys appreciate you Mike for co hosting, appreciate you Danielfor coming on and and we're definitely gonna be looking out uh hopefully early2022 for your next flight. Absolutely. Hey, thanks for having me anytimeanytime you guys want to, you know, chop it up. Let me know, definitelyappreciate it. All right. Mhm.

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