Tonight, Rodriguez will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon, and he’ll do so by appearing on the pay-per-view stage for the second time in his UFC career. Aside from a controversial loss on the scorecards to Nicolas Dalby, “D-Rod” has been perfect since making his promotional debut in 2020.
The 35-year-old is currently riding a three-fight win streak that features victories over Mike Perry, Preston Parsons, and Kevin Lee. After suffering a hand injury against “The Motown Phenom” last time out, Rodriguez has been on the sidelines for over a year.
Making his comeback tonight, the hard-hitting striker will face perhaps his toughest test to date in Li Jingliang, who’s ranked #14 in the welterweight division.
While he’s got his sights set on a successful return and a push towards the welterweight rankings, Rodriguez is also looking to utilize his prominent spot on a Diaz-headlined PPV event to boost his fanbase.
And with the knowledge that UFC 279 could mark the Stockton native’s UFC farewell, Rodriguez senses an opportunity…
Rodriguez Looks To Recreate Diaz’s UFC 244 Open Workout
During his appearance at UFC 279 media day on Wednesday, Rodriguez discussed his originally scheduled bout with Holland prior to the opponent switch, and also discussed the possible consequences of emerging victorious at the prominent Las Vegas-held event.
After expressing his excitement at being a part of what looks set to be Diaz’s final Octagon stand, Rodriguez revealed his masterplan for stealing some of the veteran fan favorite’s supporters.
“I hear this might be Nate Diaz’s last fight in the UFC. I’m so hyped to be a part of that,” Rodriguez said. “I’ll try my hardest to steal all the fans. I’ll probably spark a joint in there or something. You never know. (LAUGHS)”
As well as his game attitude in the cage, famed Stockton slaps, memorable quotes, and family ties, Nate Diaz’s reputation includes an association with marijuana.
From recently offering a joint to a USADA agent to the ones he lit during the UFC 244 open workouts in 2019 — later revealed to have been a CBD joint — and the UFC 263 post-fight press conference, Diaz’s public weed exploits have only further enamored him to much of the fanbase.
While Rodriguez will first and foremost need to keep his hot streak alive by besting Jingliang inside the cage tonight, don’t be surprised to see him ‘blazing’ in a different way when he reaches the back post-fight…
Do you think Daniel Rodriguez will have his hand raised at UFC 279?