Marina Rodriguez (16-1-2) is proving to be a real contender in the women’s strawweight division.
With a split decision win over Yan Xiaonan at UFC 272, Rodriguez now has wins over five of the top 10, 115-pounders. Riding a four-fight win streak, she defeated Amanda Ribas via KO, Michelle Waterson, and Mackenzie Dern by way of unanimous decision, and just last night Yan Xiaonan via split decision.
In her post-fight interview, Rodriguez said that “there is really nobody ahead of me that I think deserves it [a title shot] as much as I do.”
Ranked at number three in the division, the only people sitting above her are Carla Esparza, Zhang Weili, and champion Rose Namajunas. With Namajunas and Esparza in the works, and discussions of doing a rematch between Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Rodrigez is in quite a good spot to get a title shot as her next fight.
Not only could she be a backup for the potential title bout between Namajunas and Esparza, but she will likely be next in line for whoever wins that bout. With Weili losing two consecutive title bouts, it will be unlikely that she will get another shot at the title before Rodriguez.
If the 115-pound title fight between Namajunas and Esparza gets booked, I would love to see Rodriguez weigh in as a backup. Despite not having an estimated date that that fight would take place, we could see it sometime early this summer. If that is the case, we could see Rodriguez fighting for the title before the end of the year.
Frankly, Rodriguez does deserve a title shot as her next bout, especially with how dominant Namajunas has been over the years. She has defeated most of the top ten of the division, a few of them twice. Clearly, Namajunas needs a new and unique challenge. Something that Rodriguez can most definitely offer.
Title shot next or not, the future is bright for the 34-year-old Brazilian. We here at MyMMANews are excited to see what is next for Marina Rodriguez and hope that she gets a well-deserved title shot.