Sunday, October 2, 2022

Rodriguez Reacts To White’s “Shock” At Jingliang Decision

UFC welterweight contender Daniel Rodriguez has reacted to Dana White‘s remarks following his victory over Li Jingliang this past weekend.

At UFC 279, held inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Rodriguez return to the Octagon for the first time since his victory over Kevin Lee last August. By defeating “The Motown Phenom,” the 35-year-old had extended his promotional record to 6-1 and moved closer to the divisional top 15.

And competing in front of a crowd for the first time since his UFC debut on Saturday, Rodriguez secured a number next to his name by narrowly outpointing late-notice opponent Jingliang, who he was matched with after Khamzat Chimaev‘s weight miss threw the UFC 279 card into disarray.

The pair fought at a 180-pound catchweight, with “The Leech” weighing almost 10 pounds less than “D-Rod” having originally been scheduled to face Tony Ferguson at welterweight.

Nevertheless, the bout was agreed to, and the pair engaged in a technical three-round battle on the feet. But the main talking point post-fight surrounded the result, which sparked a debate among fans, fighters, and pundits.

Joining those who believe that Jingliang did enough to have his hand raised was Dana White, who suggested that the “judges got it wrong.”

Rodriguez Admits ‘Surprise’ At White’s Remarks

During an exclusive interview with MMA News’ own James Lynch, Rodriguez reacted to the UFC president’s comments.

After admitting that he was surprised to hear White backing the ‘robbery’ narrative that has emerged in some corners of the MMA community, the #14-ranked welterweight contender noted how close the fight was.

For “D-Rod,” the deciding round was the third, which he believes he did enough in to earn the nod.

“Yeah, I was (surprised White said that). I feel like it was a close fight,” Rodriguez said. “It wasn’t that shocking, or like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe that sh*t just happened’ when they announced my name. It was a close fight. Looking back at the numbers, yeah, he landed a couple more significant strikes in the first round, but the second and third, I landed more strikes.

“I pushed the pace. I was the one controlling the Octagon. I was the one pressing the fight… It was that close of a fight where it could have gone either way, in my opinion,” Rodriguez continued. “It was really who took that third round, and I feel like I did.”

In spite of White’s take and the controversial nature of the result, Rodriguez has still taken a sizable jump up the 170-pound ladder, replacing his fallen UFC 279 opponent in the rankings. With that, the Californian will look to continue his march towards the top 10 next time out.

Catch our full interview with UFC 279 victor Daniel Rodriguez below:

How did you score Daniel Rodriguez vs. Li Jingliang?

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