Gregory Rodriguez (right) faces Chidi Njokuani in Las Vegas. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images
Gregory Rodrigues is gearing up for a middleweight showdown against fellow knockout artist Chidi Njokuani in the co-main event attraction at UFC Vegas 60 on Saturday night, looking to keep the momentum going three months after a first-round knockout over Julian Marquez.
“I always say I wanna be the champion of the champions, not the champion of the losers,” Rodrigues said in an interview with MMA Fighting’s podcast Trocação Franca. “I didn’t think twice when they sent me his name, my eyes were glowing, and I said, ‘Let’s go!’.
“Chidi isn’t ranked but he’s doing well in the UFC, so it’s a fight that makes sense for both of us. Two aggressive fighters, this is definitely going to be a show. I’m very excited for this fight. He better come ready, brother. [He’s] ‘Bang Bang’, right? He better bring his guns loaded because my guns are always loaded and I’m ready to shoot.”
Rodrigues said a close split-decision defeat to Armen Petrosyan in February “taught me a lot about strategy,” and sees many avenues to explore against Njokuani.
“I’ll neutralize his game and win,” “Robocop” said. “Knockouts and submission happen. I wanna end this fight, but I always think I have 15 minutes, I have three five-minute rounds in there to make it happen.”
The Brazilian middleweight, a former LFA titleholder, is happy with UFC’s matchmaking so far and hopes that a win over Njokuani leads to a top-15 opponent next.
It won’t happen in 2022, though.
“I told [my manager Jorge Guimaraes] ‘Joinha’ to get me a fight before my daughter is born in October, and they sent me this fight with Chidi right away,” Rodrigues said. “It’s always tense, it gives anxiety thinking how it’s going to be. My friends are joking that I won’t be able to sleep for some time, so I wanted to make sure I got a fight in as soon as possible.
“I want to enjoy my daughter and help my wife and be there 100 percent present because this is our dream. I’ll probably get some rest and only come back to fighting next year.”
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