Marina Rodriguez has revealed why she recently turned down fights against both Zhang Weili & Jessica Andrade.
Rodriguez (16-1-2) returns to the cage on November 5 when she takes on Amanda Lemos. However, Lemos was not the first option the UFC had in mind for Rodriguez’ opponent. The UFC had initially tried to book her against Zhang Weili, however Rodriguez explained during a recent appearance on the Mundo da Luta podcast why she declined.
“I fought (Yan) Xiaonan in March and a month or so passed and the UFC offered me to fight Weili Zhang in Singapore. I didn’t even have two whole months to prepare. To fight Weili Zhang, a former champion, we want a full camp, we want to be well prepared to put on an excellent fight. We had to deny it.” she explained.
“At the time, my coach already had another athlete (Taila Santos) fighting for the belt (flyweight) in the same event, so it would be complicated. He decided to give full attention to this fight for the belt and we had to pass Weili Zhang. We said that we would agree to fight her, but later on. Then the UFC said: ‘no, we want it for now’. So much so that Dana White made a statement saying that ‘timing’ was everything.” she continued.
After this, the UFC tried to book Rodriguez against Jessica Andrade, but once again she declined due to the fact they they are part of the same agency.
“After this very quick offer, the UFC offered Jessica Andrade, but she is from the same agency as me. Her coach, master Gilliard Paraná, is my manager. And we had a conversation and we said: we fight each other, but for the belt, which is beneficial for both sides. Then we deny those two fights. And it would take time to wait for the belt, it would only be next year, because Weili Zhang would only be later on.”
Rodriguez says she has no regrets about turning down both fights and believes she made the decision that was best for her.
“Given the circumstances we were in at the time, it was the best decision. If I accepted to fight Weili Zhang with 40 days of training, on the same card with another super fight for our team, I wouldn’t deliver a fight that was really worth it, which is to fight Weili Zhang, a complete athlete and we’ve already seen it who is actually a former champion – and likely future champion. The decision was really the best one to follow. We play the game the UFC wants, and for that we have to be willing to bear all the consequences.” she said.
The UFC Fight Night event on November 5, featuring Rodriguez vs Lemos, takes place from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States.