It appears that UFC strawweight contender Marina Rodriguez did enough to earn a No. 1 contender spot in her win over Yan Xiaonan at UFC 272.
Rodriguez won a closely-contested top-5 matchup against Xiaonan in a back-and-forth war on the feet. Rodriguez struggled with Xiaonan’s speed early in the fight but found a rhythm with her pacing as the bout went on.
Rodriguez has been on a roll in the strawweight division after an impressive 2021. She earned three-straight wins last year including lopsided victories over the likes of Michelle Waterson and Mackenzie Dern.
The promotion has been working on booking the Namajunas/Esparza rematch in 2022. Although it hasn’t been formally announced, it’s widely expected to be the next title fight at 115 pounds.
Rodriguez made her UFC debut back in 2018 following a gruesome knockout of Maria Oliveira on Dana White’s Contender Series. She has yet to face Namajunas in the UFC but lost in a close split decision against Esparza in July 2020.
Namajunas earned her second stint as the strawweight queen by knocking out Zhang Weili at UFC 261. She would follow it up by earning a decision win over Weili in their rematch at UFC 268.
Rodriguez is looking to become the latest Brazilian UFC champion and the first Brazilian strawweight champion since Jéssica Andrade held the title in 2019. She’ll have the chance to prove herself with her next Octagon appearance, which is expected to be for a championship belt.
Do you think Marina Rodriguez is a future UFC champion?