Marina Rodriguez is bracing for a gruelling bout against Mackenzie Dern in the strawweight category of the UFC main event on Saturday but is confident of coming up trumps against the American.
“In a perfect world, on a perfect day, we get a knockout on the first or second round. But we know it can be a very tough, grinding fight. If that happens, I expect to come out the winner in five rounds,” Rodriguez said during an interaction with Sportstar.
The world number six is confident about taking on Dern — a tenacious grappler with three victories by submission in her four-match winning streak.
“Like against most of the grapplers I faced, the idea is to just keep my distance, choose my spots and fire whenever I feel like I can do proper damage. But if it happens to go to the ground, I am fine too. I am well-prepared for that,” the 34-year-old said.
“In this camp, I did things a little bit different. I focused a lot on the details of grappling, and I think that’s going to make a huge difference come fight time,” she added.
Standing a considerable three inches taller at 5 feet 7 inches, Rodriguez will look to capitalise on her striking-heavy technique which has earned her six knockout wins in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), most recently against Amanda Ribas in January earlier this year.
The Brazilian made her foray into combat sports with Muay Thai, a martial art originating from Thailand with a focus on kicking and punching that helped her make the transition to MMA in 2015 before debuting in the UFC three years later.
“My time in Muay Thai gave me a peace of mind, tranquility regarding fighting. That for sure translated into MMA. So, whenever I went up there, I knew I had been through something similar and it helped me a lot,” she said.
As the two women prepare to headline the upcoming UFC Fight Night, Rodriguez said, “That’s the thing about the UFC. We can say without a doubt that it is one of the few if not the only sport or sport organisation where women are paid the same as men. You come in with the same salary, everybody gets paid the same. If you win, you grow on your purses and if you are able to sell and make them money, you are going to make money no matter what. So, on this aspect, it’s probably the only platform where men and women can grow in the same way, bottom-line wise, regarding payment.”