Rodrigo Munduruca – UFC Bound?
Rodrigo Munduruca is the biggest fighter coming out of Winnipeg. Weighing in at 262, he is one massive Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. Winnipeggers will probably have their last chance to see their hometown fighter tonight at Canadian Fighting Championship before he goes off to bigger and better things.
At the beginning of 2009, Rodrigo Munduruca’s resolution was to train super hard to try to get into the UFC. Train hard he has. Rod has been working out with two personal trainers from McDole Performance Systems since last September and is in great shape. The training is paying off as Munduruca has been on tear winning a gold in the Canadian Championship last November and following that with brilliant performance for Team Canada atin Switzerland last December. Out of 18 competitors in his Superheavyweight division, Munduruca placed third in No-Gi and brought home Gold in the Gi competition. Showcasing his world class Jiu-Jitsu, Munduruca tapped out six out of seven opponents and only lost by a point to the No-Gi gold medalist.
However, this Friday at the CFC will not be grappling, Munduruca may be forced to stand with opponent Heath Roth. “Heath Roth is a game guy and I have a feeling he is going to come out there and try to take my head off,” predicts the 5-0 MMA fighter. What strategy will Munduruca bring to the ring? “If I see a chance for a punch, I will punch. If I see a chance for a take down, I will take down. Whatever opportunity I see, I will take. When I am in great shape, my body just reacts to the fight. Its instinctive,” the 31 year old says matter-of-factly. He TKO’d his last opponent in the ring, so Roth has more to worry about than just BJJ especially since Rodrigo has greatly improved his standup training with K-1 fighter Giuseppe DeNatale.
Munduruca has fought in Winnipeg four times. Does he still feel pressure fighting in front of his hometown crowd which will be full of students from his gym, Munduruca Martial Arts. “I feel a lot of pressure fighting in Winnipeg,” states the number one MMA heavyweight in Canada, who has beaten UFC fighter Jason Day. His wife will be there though to cheer him on, “You will hear her. She will be the loudest in the crowd when I fight,” he says with a laugh. The former Brazilian came to Winnipeg in 1999 and is close to his family but you will not see his mother there. “She almost interupted a BJJ match I had a long time ago.” Rodrigo adds, “My mom just cannot handle watching me fight!”
There were rumours that Rodrigo was going to be on the UFC 97 card in Montreal and Rodrigo confirms that the UFC was sniffing around with his managers but the matchup may not have been to their liking. “If I get to the UFC, it will be good”, states Rodrigo, “or if I can help get someone to the UFC, that would be good too.” Those others he teaches could be Canada’s other top heavyweights Tim Hague or Nick Penner who both are Munduruca affiliated students. Hague was even rumoured to have signed an EliteXC deal before that promotion folded.
Munduruca will also be attempting to qualify for Abu Dhabi at the Montreal trials after this fight. If he does qualify, he could be facing none other than Fedor Emelianenko at Abu Dhabi! Rodrigo has an exciting future and a win at the CFC on February 6 will definitely enhance Munduruca’s chances of getting to the UFC.
Fans should come out and see this undefeated behemoth. He is heading towards the big time and once he is there, fans will not be able to see him fighting in Winnipeg.
Tickets are available at Ticketmaster. Cageplay.com always encourages fans to support their local MMA promotions.