Gregory Rodrigues suffered a setback in his rise in the UFC middleweight division after winning his first two octagon appearances in less than five months, and takes his split-decision loss to Armen Petrosyan as a chance to grow in his career.
Rodrigues doesn’t feel like he has taken a big step back with the defeat. In fact, he’s treating it as an opportunity to build a solid foundation to start something “excellent” next. On Saturday night, “Robocop” looks to get back on track against Julian Marquez at UFC Austin.
“In my mind, I didn’t lose that fight,” Rodrigues said on this week’s edition of MMA Fighting podcast Trocação Franca. “I have no doubt I won the fight regardless of how the judges scored it. It was a great fight for me. He’s a tough guy. I knew it would be a hard fight for both of us.
“I always say my grandmother will die undefeated because she’s never fought in her life. Losing is part of the process of learning not only as an athlete. We have to learn to deal with our frustrations and move on. I’ve watched the fight and this man is tough, it was a close fight, but I believe the judges made a mistake.”
The lesson learned, he said, is to receive better instructions from his cornermen and never count on a 10-9 in your favor if the round was close. One way to get rid of any doubt, “Robocop” said, is to avoid a decision by stopping your opponent early.
“You have to kill, right? Don’t let it [go the distance], you have to kill,” Rodrigues laughed. “The lesson here is to know myself more, know my potential and where I can get. I noticed my evolution on the feet in this fight, and I have to get better in mixing it up with transitions and takedowns, to be more strategist. It’s three rounds of five minutes, so I have 15 minutes to do everything I know. Whatever happens before that, it’s a bonus.
“I’ll always be the guy that walks forward regardless, I’ll never stall. At the same time, I have to be smart and know when I don’t need to push the pace. But I’ll always walk forward, man. There’s no question about it. I’ll always go for the finish. That’s my style and my way of fighting.
“Sometimes we let the emotions control us. A friend told me last year, ‘You’re a robot programmed to go there and win. Robots have no emotions, they are programmed to do something, so it will execute it.’ That’s one of the things I worked in my mind over the course of my career, to control my emotions inside the cage. To be more logical instead of emotional.”
Marquez, a Dana White’s Contender Series signee, will enter UFC Austin coming off back-to-back submissions over Maki Pitolo and Sam Alvey. He hasn’t competed since April 2021 due to the cancellation of matches with Jordan Wright and Kyle Daukaus, and “Robocop” sees ring rust as an advantage for him.
“Marquez is a tough guy, he fought a friend of mine [Phil Hawes] on the Contender and is coming off two good wins over tough guys in the UFC, but he hasn’t fought in two years,” Rodrigues said. “He has pressure, but he hasn’t fought someone like me before. I have all the tools to finish this fight on the feet and on the ground. I’ll impose my rhythm, my game, and he won’t have enough in him. ‘Robocop’ is ready to put on a great fight and come out with the victory Saturday.”