Gregory Rodrigues just couldn’t avoid making the pun.
Brazil’s “Robocop” returns to the octagon to face Jun Yong Park in the preliminary portion of UFC Vegas 41 this Saturday at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas and gave a brutally honest breakdown of his opponent’s skills in a pre-fight interview with MMA Fighting.
“Park is a tough guy,” Rodrigues said. “He’s quite limited, but does well what he can do. He’s not that versatile. He’s a grappler that has won most of his fights by throwing jabs, doing a little bit of boxing, but he’s very strategic. I’ve watched some of his fights and he takes it to the ground when he’s in disadvantage on the feet. He doesn’t have much knockout power, but he’s a dangerous guy. I believe it’s going to match up well.
“I’ve evolved a lot in the striking area in my recent fights and I have confident in my striking, but jiu-jitsu is my go-to. I’ll be prepared wherever the fight goes. Like Mike Tyson always says, the strategy changes when the first punch lands [laughs], but I’m ready and happy with this fight. It’s an important fight for me, it’s the perfect fight for this moment in my career. Park has some experience in the UFC, has four fights there and his debut was against a tough opponent, but I believe it’s going to be a walk in the park [laughs].”
Park has won three in a row in the UFC since losing via submission to Anthony Hernandez in his promotional debut in Aug. 2019, having scored decisions over Marc-Andre Barriault, John Phillips, and Tafon Nchukwi. Rodrigues, on the other hand, makes his second walk to the octagon after defeating Dusko Todorovic on two weeks’ notice in June.
Rodrigues, who won the LFA middleweight championship back in May, went 3-0 in less than a three-month span in 2021. Now “Robocop” celebrates finally being able to have a full camp for his middleweight clash with Park.
“I always put in my head that I have to be training regardless of having a fight booked or not,” he said. “I’ve always had good performances on short notice, but I believe I was able to adjust many things with my coaches since my UFC debut, work on my stand-up, my strategy and my mental, especially now that I’ve managed to get where I wanted to be, which is the UFC. Every fight is a fight regardless of being in the UFC or not, but this is where the best in the world are so I have to reinvent myself at all times.”
Rodrigues has scored finishes in all but two of his 10 MMA wins since his debut in 2014, five of which came inside the opening round, and feels “ready for everything” in Las Vegas.
“I’m capable of submitting him or knocking him out,” he said. “I never think it’s going to be a quick fight, that I’m going to finish it. I always think I have 15 minutes to impose my game and anything that happens inside those three rounds is a bonus for me. I’m ready to impose my game and go for the finish, of course. I’m ready for everything.”