Average to Savage
Average to Savage

Episode · 6 months 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 podcast with paul Guerrino. Everyone in anyone, athletes, celebs and much more today's episode is powered by natural effects. Natural effects 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, convenience stores, gas stations and liquor stores also check out natural effects dot net and use the code PG 15 for 15% off. That's natural effects dot net And use the code PAT 15 for 15% off. Go check them out. So up everybody welcome back to another episode of the Average Savage podcast. We've got a special guest host, Michael carter Williams and our special guest today. So, UFC Fighter, Daniel, Rodriguez, Daniel, how's it going? Good, good man. Happy to have a beer and get to finally talk to you guys. I know you've been trying to do is for no good. Yeah, yeah, I'm happy. We uh we finally got together to do 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 I always like to ask guys like how did they, like how did you get into fighting? Like what was your, was there a moment in your life where your parents fighters, did you watch somebody like what would, what gravitated you towards wanting to fight? My experience coming into this mm, a game was really like the street experience, you know, uh you know, it's being 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 up until that point really, I didn't really like fighting, you know, until I started going to juvenile hall and like the boot camps and like little little placement 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 up until like, you know, almost like going to L. A county jail and spending so much time there, you know, being in and out in and out, you know, I got into a lot of sh it out there, so I kind of had this little street fighter, you know mentality and style coming into the sport, you know that when I first walked into the gym, the coaches were like, like man, this guy's got some raw fucking Yeah, he got that raw, you know? Yeah, just paid a lot of attention to me and you know, little by little I became the main focus in the gym, you know, 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. Like I 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 was like supposed to follow but um you know I kind of fell away from sports you know because we like moved around a lot you know my mom was like single moms and stuff and I was never able to really just settle down and really just you know uh going you know so hood to hood I learned a lot of learned a lot of like you know a lot of fighting experience, a lot of survival stuff you know. So um that's really what it was up until like you know like I said 24 25 years old where I decided I was like yo I started having kids well I had my first kid you know like something's gotta change you know I got to do something. I even try to like get into the marines, I didn't try to go to marines and she's trying to do anything I could but you know at that point I had I had sucked it all up and my only option was construction and I was working at a construction site in downtown L. A. And I was like get off work 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 ship like I love it you know because I remember this one time I had got out of jail and my cousin was like, yo come watch his full name rampages, like watches her name rampage, he's gonna fight tonight, and that's the first time 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 so much 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, street mentality and you know, it's got me like nine years later from walking into a 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 street mentality and then it channeled in the right direction, right? You know, you could 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 you gotta go through it, you know what I mean? You gotta just you have to go through 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 like it's damning, they're unbeatable. Yeah, a lot of times, even the announcers of black 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 it because, 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 I carry that, you know, and I think about all that stuff sometimes when I'm backstage, I'm like, man, I made it through all that, I can make it through this, 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 bit want 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 was watching myself great performance by you, you know, you're coming in there as an underdog. Um kind of what's that, like, you know, I mean, I'm sure it's nothing new to you, you're you know, I'm sure you've had the mentality of an underdog 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 the UFC, you know, I had fought in the contender series and I didn't get signed, you know? And I went on and I did one more fight outside the UFC and uh you know what they gave me, they hit me up at the time I was at Cowboy Cerrone is path uh was just training, you know, just trains trying to get better. I didn't want to give up, you know, And I get to qualify 10 means I'm two weeks notice, you know, in his hometown. So I was like, man, this is what you and there with a veteran, right? Uh yeah, like he had like 20 something fights in the UFC already. I'm like, man, I just gotta go out there and just, you know, just give it all I got, you know, so I stepped into our two weeks notice, huge, huge underdog and uh, you know, uh just like this 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 in the game a while, you know, it's kind of like the next, the next level up in competition for me. And uh, you know, I had just fought like three weeks before that, you know, before I got the car and I was just like, man, I haven't really 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 training and I was like, now all I gotta do all I gotta really do is just go hard the next two weeks and then show up and fight, you know, and you know, I was I was down and take to accept the challenge and uh you know, no risk, no reward kind of story for me with that one man. Yeah, no, at two of the guys that 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 in shape, like you know, they're going there and they, you know lose, but it's not 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 as I can, so like I said as a fan, that's you know, that's dope, that's dope to see, Yeah man, a lot of dudes will step up just, you know, just for the paycheck, you know? But I play to win, you know, and uh you know, to step up on two weeks notice against kevin lee,...

I had to take the opportunity, I was like man, I always felt like, yo at the time if this is mad for me and I'm you know, I'm gonna go out there and I'm gonna win and I'm a shine and I'm gonna do 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 being like, that's just like being in the street for me like ship, you never know where 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 me is like sh it, I could be walking down the street and someone's trying to fight me like now nowadays little different circumstances and she, you don't even know if you gave yourself into back in the day when I was walking down the street. I used to get a jump on my enemies, you know, and I will never back down. I will never, I will always be willing to fight, you know, I think 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 to get back in there and against two man? Uh well apparently I'm kind of like 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 me being in the UFC having so many fights in such little time like I'm always in the gym, always you know in shape and ready to go and this is the first time I 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, we went back to training on my own without, without you know, nobody knowing just doing 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 just like me being hungry, you know, like I'm trying to stay in the game, you know, in my mind, I'm like man, I fight at the highest level in the game, like like all these dudes are getting better and I can't just stay so I got really impatient, you know? And I got in my head and I went and started training and messed myself up and right now I'm in a position where I have to decide whether I get the surgery and it's going to take you know, even a little bit longer healing time and in my mind I'm like damn, like I already been off this 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 sides of you. One side is like, man, you already fought this many times would have messed up. And what's one more time do you get paid at the surgery again and then chill out. Uh, and, and the other part of me is like, man, if you, you know, I haven't even started training yet. So yeah, I don't even know how that's going to feel, you know? And I honestly, I can say I'm leaning towards getting the surgery, but it's just like having little effect on me because 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 that money, you know, I think it's a good thing to you proved yourself that you're real and you know, in this, you know, in the game right? Like people are, you know excited for you to come back. So like, it's not like your head and you know, it's not like you're got a note, you're, you're not a no name guy who's injured. And now it's like, no, like when you're, when you're ready and when your time people are going to be like, oh yeah, he's, he's coming back like, you know, he's a for sure watch, he's a good tender and in the division. 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 fights since 2020. Like that. So many guys on that. Yeah, man. So it's like I'm saying 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, My career and and stop thinking like, for instance, a lot of times I think since I entered the game a little bit late 25, I'm 34 now. Damn. I wanna get the clock over here. You know, I ain't got the, I was like a few years younger if I was still like in my twenties and I'm like, all right, cool. This is nothing. I think 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 that means you don't have a lot of miles on either. Actually. I don't, and I don't like for the most part my fights, I don't take much damage. I don't, I'm not like getting like in those crazy pick out swarms were like, we're getting beat up back and forth. You know, my my my winds are pretty, you know? Uh Yeah, they're pretty, they're pretty good. Come out. They're pretty like touch for the most part. So I gotta go, I gotta ask you got you got ranked in the top 15 as number 15, but then all of a sudden now they unranked you. So what, what was that, what first, what was that like to be ranked? And then what happened? Well that was like a huge accomplishment for me being ranked finally. Um you know, it's just kind of like, 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 ranks and I was an amateur, I climbed all the way up to number one in California when I was, when I was beginning as pro, I climbed up to number one in California then 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 the mix things I'm dealing with this injury and you know, it's just, it's just the time, it's just the time process for me, like if anything, like it's helping me is gonna help me develop other aspects of my game, I'm like all right, cool, I gotta lay off, all I gotta do is just lay off, hit him up with this sh it left, I still got my job, kicks, punches elbows and I have to start focusing more on my rapping. You know, I feel like my grappling is pretty solid. I just don't really show it because I love to just, you know if kevin isn't doing anything to get you down, there's not many that were so yeah, I mean he was able to get me down but like the way that people who have like he wasn't creating no damage though. Yeah. Yeah, it was like for the most part we were locked up and uh it feels good to know that he wasn't able to pass my guard or to put me in any like super bad positions and I was able to recover. Yeah, do strong but a lot of other things are too, so you know I got a good ops team and really for me like I'm just thinking like there's other ways that can elevate my game, you know, there's always shipped to learn, especially in mixed martial arts, you know, this is a constant constant learning process. Yeah, for sure, for sure. So you know, you said you just, we're talking about a little bit, you know, different things of how you're gonna train now that you're injured, but normally what does your training regimen look like? Yeah, normally like when I'm uh invite camp uh since moving out here to Vegas, one of the main reasons why I moved out here to Vegas because they have such an amazing what resources we have such amazing resources, fighters like out here, you know, um, there's the UFC Performance 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 the training, they got therapy, they got the, the recovery meet all the recovery equipment and uh, you know, as well, there's a ton of Jim's out here, Some of the top fighters in the world, are you? And uh, you know, for me, I was out, I was training for that mike perry fight with cowboy and we came out here to Vegas and he kind of like, show me like, you know, well he showed me the cowboy treatment, you know? But you...

...know, he kind of like opened my eyes to like all the areas that could tap into while I'm out here and uh, I figured I'd take a year or two out of my life and come out here and focus and then try to really develop myself as a fighter, you know, as well as like a syndicate is like a ton of fighters out there and that's why I'm mainly training that now and, and, and you know, I just was just all, all room for improvement. Yeah, no, yeah, it definitely looks like it. So what, what some of the, like some advice you would give to a young fighter that's, you know, trying to get into the UFC, right man, I get, I get questions. Uh especially like from from younger fighters, a lot of get questioned a lot from dudes that they think that it's too late. Yeah, no short, I'm like 20 something like, I think it might be too late. I'd like to be like, Oh, I'm 24 and 22, like I first walked in the gym when I was 25, you know? And all I knew was 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 the hard working, you know, I think my advice to any like any young up and comers, like, yo you could do this ship, you know, you just have to work your asshole, gotta work hard, you know, like what you're doing at practice, you know, like that ain't enough, it ain't enough. You gotta like, you gotta, you gotta get up and you got to do overtime shift, you gotta like do ship when everybody else is not doing, you know, that's the only way you're gonna make it, that's the way you know how I can and I was always like, I'll go to like my team practices and ship, but I'll still come home and I still like there's too much, I felt like I honestly felt like, is that I started late, so I have to work twice as hard as my father's been doing this their whole life, you know, just to catch up. Yeah, I feel like that's that's that's that would be my advice to, you know, any young fighters, this man, you're just 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 you really 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 saw 2015, you actually did a couple of professional boxing matches. So I wanted to know like what what you thought of all this mm a versus boxing now that's happening. Yeah, uh definitely say there's uh boxing as far as 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 had zero boxing experience. It was at a time where I couldn't get no fights because I was I was like, I was killing the game. You know, I had oh, I had four fights in a row, cancel on me. This one fight guy showed up like £17 over the next fight trip out on this the next fight. The guy got arrested the week before the fight because like I guess he had murdered his girlfriend or some ship and like he had heard drunk or something like that. Another guy didn't even show up twins and another guy just showed up crazy our weight and I was like almost I almost gave up man. I was like man I can't get a fight. I just like like it was it was at a time where I had to choose either work and even work or were construction or do despite ship you know because it was affecting both. I would like have hard days at work and I'll show up and be like shooting in the gym or I'll be like give it all I got in the gym and show up tires how it works and it was like causing like you know little problems there. So what's wrong with you? Yeah mike. I know. I was gonna I was gonna ask your...

...favorite song but a mortgage to know like how do you pick your walkout song? Like what like is it something you spend a lot of time on and you're just like whatever. Did you stick with your first one that you've ever chosen? Like what's the man uh for the most part I always always have a new song, it's kind of like the kind of song that I'm just like listening to fight, can't you know, because like music always new music and I'm always listening to music. Um man, honestly I've been listening to a whole 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 he got 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'm listening to during fight camp, what was pumping me up, you know, I was in different Yeah, yeah, sure. Um, now I know you were just in Connecticut, so tell 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 when it was man, but he hit me or he had hit me up uh over over instagram and this was a while back, it was like right after I had won like a championship because she was with, he was promoting us Devereaux school, which is the uh sound smashed logo and I had won a championship, but I can't remember if we 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 that guy 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, we just, 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 his team up and let's try to make something happen. You know, I'm trying to make something happen for myself and I see you is like fun, let's do it dog, you know? And I don't even know this guy, he's on the way in Connecticut, you know, 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 Vegas before. I was even living out here. Uh we have linked up when we did like some photo shoots and stuff. And that those guys that were cool, He invited me out to Connecticut and I got to meet his family ship, you know? And and got a little 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 find anybody, who would it be, man? If I defy anybody? Uh I want to fight 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 when I'm training, I was thinking that fights like man with a fight school were just like sucking each other up. You know, like, like, you know, like that's what I think about when I'm like, you know, I've been thinking I should like that. And they seem to know I'm sprinting down the street like that she gets me going, You know, I think as fighter, we all kind of think about those kind of fights. You know what I kind of feel like man who's who's someone 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's the dream fight for me. But I think like one of those, well, that dream price probably be my division. Mm hmm. I said in Moscow Dog, I'll be doing all right miles and all the good fight, you know, because it would be like, because he 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 solid dudes. Yeah, that would be, that would be great. But I would just do it just for the hype. Yeah. Yeah, it's good. And it's always great. Like, yeah, he's a pioneer in the sport man. So I would do it just because I don't like them or nothing. But, you know, it's one of the hype fights out there. I think, I think UFC just might like, it might be like one of the only sports where it's just like, sometimes the guys don't even care about the belts. Like the bigger fights. Sometimes we're without belts. Yeah. Well, that's what it's starting to become, since, since MaS Vidal India's did that fight. And remember when, uh, just recently, um, instead of fighting for the title, Uh, for a five sucking 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. My last question to both of you guys, uh I think the next UFC like fighters prob versus Jose Aldo, who do you guys got? I gotta go, I gotta go my man rob from boston baby. Yeah, mama, I gotta stick with the hometown. Yeah, I'm a fun with rob font to, you know, just because uh you know, not just because but here the natural effects from, you know, Jaime talked me out the bottom, but hey, I'm a huge uh josie all those fans, uh you know, definitely a legend future Hall of 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 jab he's got and then, you know, although he kicks a little bit now, but not like he 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 for sure. Yeah. All right, well, I appreciate both of you guys appreciate you Mike for co hosting, appreciate you Daniel for coming on and and we're definitely gonna be looking out uh hopefully early 2022 for your next flight. Absolutely. Hey, thanks for having me anytime anytime you guys want to, you know, chop it up. Let me know, definitely appreciate it. All right. Mhm.

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