LAS VEGAS – Daniel Rodriguez has never been the talking type, but he knows it won’t be smart for him to keep his mouth completely shut at UFC 279 when he fights Kevin Holland, a fighter nicknamed “Big Mouth.”
“I’m from Los Angeles, bro,” Rodriguez told MMA Junkie and other reporters at Wednesday’s news conference. “I went to school in the LA Unified School District. I went to juvenile hall and LA county jail. I’m used to trash talking. If you ain’t trash talking back, you’re getting roasted, bro. For real.”
Overall, Rodriguez (16-2 MMA, 6-1 UFC) plans on being more of a doer than a sayer against Holland (23-7 MMA, 10-4 UFC). Thus far, his results have spoken for themselves, after all. Outside of a controversial decision loss to Nicolas Dalby, Rodriguez has not lost inside the UFC cage.
“I never really have been that talking type,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve been more about that action. He does a lot of trash talking and sh*t. I don’t think it’s going to affect me much. I grew up around a bunch of trash talkers.”
Holland is a growing draw for the UFC, so Rodriguez realizes a matchup on a pay-per-view event is a big opportunity for his brand. That’s not to mention the fan support of the matchup. People are excited a matchup canceled in May 2020 is back on the books.
“He’s a tough opponent, definitely for sure,” Rodriguez said. “He’s got a lot of momentum coming into the welterweight division. Two wins. He beat a guy that I beat. Kevin Holland, fighting him coming back, is a fun fight for me. It’s a fight that was supposed to happen. The fans have been wanting me to fight him forever. I’m just glad I get to come back and fight him. … The fans are just so hyped for it. I am. It just makes for an amazing fight.”
As for what’s on the other side of a win at UFC 279, Rodriguez doesn’t want to speculate. Generally speaking though, if he capitalizes on the moment, an even-bigger fight awaits him.
“Really, I just want to get past this fight,” Rodriguez said. “I want to handle this fight and whatever happens after that. I know a big win Saturday will definitely put me in a good, good position for potential bigger fights. I’ve just got to get through this fight.”
UFC 279 takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPNEWS and early prelims on ESPN+.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 279.