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Marina Rodriguez can only wait for a call from the Ultimate Fighting Championship before she determines the next step in her career.
The strawweight contender finds herself on a three-fight winning streak after she took a unanimous decision from Mackenzie Dern in the UFC Fight Night 194 main event on Oct. 9. She had a vested interest in the rematch between reigning 115-pound champion Rose Namajunas and Weili Zhang at UFC 268 a little less than a month later, as “Thug Rose” retained her title in a contentious split decision.
“As I expected, it was a very tough fight, but I agreed with the result,” Rodriguez told Sherdog.com. “Rose was more technical, and she was even able to take Zhang down. She deserved to keep the belt. Certainly, training with [Henry] Cejudo helped Zhang, but it was a pretty short time to make significant changes.”
Rodriguez has already made herself available to the UFC for a title fight with Namajunas. However, she admits Carla Esparza—a women who defeated her in July 2020—could stand in the way.
“No doubt, it would be fair if Esparza gets the chance,” Rodriguez said. “It looks like Rose agrees with that, too, but [UFC President] Dana [White] doesn’t. I’m not a matchmaker. I’m a fighter. My job is to be ready when the UFC calls me, and I will be.”
Rodriguez, 34, has compiled a 15-1-2 record since she debuted in March 2015. She thinks a showdown with Namajunas has “Fight of the Night” potential.
“I believe Rose’s game fits well with mine,” Rodriguez said. “We’re both technical and aggressive strikers. I can’t reveal my strategy, but I can predict that the fighter who can take the most punishment will leave the Octagon with the belt.”
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