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This UFC fighter climbed his way up from the streets of Los Angeles

In and out of jail in his youth, Daniel Rodriguez trained in MMA because he had nowhere else to turn. And at 35 years old, he's far from done.

Daniel “D-Rod” Rodriguez is a 35-year-old Mexican-American mixed martial artist from Los Angeles. He stands as the fourteenth-ranked welterweight in UFC and currently holds the record for the most strikes landed per minute (7.84). 

Before he made his way to combat sports, Rodriguez was involved in the Southern California gang lifestyle and actually spent the bulk of his youth in and out of jail. He claims to be undefeated in over two hundred street fights. However, he does have two losses out of nineteen matches on his professional MMA record, leaving him with seventeen wins and eight knockouts. He got into MMA as an adult in 2015 due to his criminal background making it difficult for him to pursue other career opportunities. 

Despite overcoming a lot and turning things around to become a recognized UFC fighter, he still has big ambitions and wants more for himself. He recently told the press: “Yeah, my life is changing and that’s motivation in itself, but I want more. I come from nothing, so what I have now, I appreciate, but it ain’t enough. I know there’s more for me to gain and it’s all up to the work that I put into it, and all I can do is work my ass off, stay consistent and be smart and good things are gonna happen like they’ve been happening. I’m happy with life, but I’m not comfortable.”

Daniel Rodriguez has a big upcoming fight

It’s always exciting to watch a hungry fighter climb their way through the rankings. That’s why I can’t wait until he steps into the octagon again this weekend against “The Haitian Sensation” Neil Magny, who many experts favor to win. But I’m going to go against the grain with this one. Maybe I’m just saying this because I WANT Rodriguez to win, but I truly believe this is any man’s game, so we will just have to wait and see. 

Rodriguez was forced to withdraw from his last scheduled fight, also against Neil Magny, because of an MRSA infection stemming from a cut he suffered on his elbow in his fight against Li Jingliang at UFC 279 in September, where he picked up a split decision win.

Rodriguez’s social handles: 

Instagram

Twitter

Come back next week for the next Fighter of the Week installment, and check out last week’s pick Alex Pereira.