WSOF 18’s Jose Rodriguez aims to put Saskatchewan MMA on the map

61f9e7fc98b11beda1f7427d58379565Jose “The Rockstar” Rodriguez looks to make a statement in his WSOF debut Thursday as he faces MFC veteran Mukai Maromo at WSOF 18: Moraes vs. Hill. Due to the rescheduling of the Antonio Carvalho vs. Chris Gruetzemacher fight, the 29-year old Rodriguez and his lightweight counterpart are now featured on the main card on the NBC Sports Network. For the Scheer’s MMA product, it’s icing on the cake for what’s been a frustrating couple of months in finding an opponent. “[My manager told me] there was a chance [I’d] either be fighting {Mukai] or fight some other guy like Andrew McInnes [on the WSOF 18 card].” Rodriguez told MMAOddsBreaker. “I’ve had two guys already drop out on me since September. I tried to fight on the first World Series of Fighting card [WSOF 14: Ford vs. Shields] then I was supposed to fight for United MMA, that one didn’t happen either. Now I’m just pumped, I just told [my manger] I don’t care who you give me. I just need to get into that cage.” Rodriguez , (7-2-0) was born and raised Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, a prairie city in Western Canada with a population of around 300,000. Part of the reason Rodriguez has had difficulty finding fights is the lack of MMA sanctioning in the province of Saskatchewan. “There isn’t any [professional] MMA fights here that are sanctioned or allowed. Amateur fights [are] but not really. Mostly Regina [capital city of Saskatchewan] has had it, where they have amateur fights and Saskatoon has had the odd one here and there. But I think from what I’ve heard from the grapevine, even the amateur fights have been cancelled for the remainder of the year. Just until they figure out what they’re going to do [with the professional MMA fights].” The lack of sanctioning in Saskatchewan doesn’t mean there isn’t a strong MMA base in the province. In fact, Rodriguez claims it’s the opposite and that many pundits are overlooking the talent in the prairie province in Canada. “Saskatchewan [fighters are] very underrated. I remember when I first started fighting people are like “where are you from, you’re from Saskatoon?” They’d always be like “you’re just a prairie boy.” But I’m telling you there are guys here that are legitimate. I don’t know if it’s the cold weather or the hard winters that makes us a little tougher. There are some good fighters that could easily be picked up by these bigger organizations. “ When he’s not fighting, the father of two works for a construction company that sets tiles. His schedule is convenient because it allows him to work in the mornings and train in the afternoon. Rodriguez admits his days are long – mostly 12 hours or more – but his motivation stems from his children who see him as a real life superhero. Fighting for a major promotion for the first time and on the main card can bring a lot of pressure, but for Rodriguez he just looks at it as another fight. “I don’t get excited too much, it’s just a fight. It’s not like the [gladiator days] where one guy has a sword and the other guys got an axe and only one guy comes out. It’s just a scrap, go in there and fight. If you’re good and people like you, you’ll be picked up and you’ll be [signed by] bigger shows. “ His opponent, the 31-year old Maromo made waves across the Canadian MMA scene when he amassed an impressive 8-2 record, predominantly in the Maximum Fighting Championship. But recently he’s recently hit a rough patch, losing his last two fights and hasn’t competed since May of 2013. Despite this, Rodriguez believes this will be an entertaining battle for the fans. “I think it’s a good matchup overall, like standup and on the ground. I think I can hold my own and I’ve always been known for punching above my weight. I hope he’s preparing really hard for this fight because I know I am.” Even with an impressive 7-2 record, Rodriguez remains humble and should he emerge victorious on Thursday night, he isn’t rushing to sign with another promotion. With this event being a five hour drive to Edmonton, Alberta, Rodriguez will have the support of his team but not his immediate family. “My immediate family I don’t think will be coming up. They kind of don’t like the whole fighting thing, my dad and mom are more traditional and are [worried] I’ll get hurt. But [my team] being there is good for me. “ Jose wants to thank his sponsors Martial Law Clothing, Stellar Gear, Danger Dynamite. Follow him on Twitter @joserozottomma & Instagram: forza_18

Written by James Lynch

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