The third UFC event of the year goes down in just under a week live from the APEX in Las Vegas. The fight card consists of 11-bouts in total with Alistair Overeem looking to make one last run at capturing UFC gold as he takes on Alexander Volkov.
I had the pleasure of speaking with light heavyweight Danilo Marques as he prepares to make his second walk to the UFC octagon on February 6th, taking on the heavy-hitting Mike Rodriguez.
Danilo Marques (10-2) made his official debut with the promotion at UFC 253, and a successful debut it was. The Brazilian cruised his way to a unanimous decision over Khadis Ibragimov which was impressive, considering Danilo Marques hadn’t competed in MMA for over two years.
Danilo Marques has proven he’s a tough man to beat, only tasting defeat twice out of his 12-fights. The 35-year old has recently made the move to California to join KINGS MMA with high-level competitors such as Fabrico Werdum, Kelvin Gastelum, Marvin Vettori, and Beneil Dariush. This will just add to the killer instinct on finishing fights that Danilo Marques possess. Although going to a decision in his last outing, Marques brings an 80% finishing rate to the table.
On the topic of killer instincts and finishing fights, Mike Rodriguez (11-5) will stand across the cage from Marquez on Feb.6. Rodriguez has been competing in the UFC since 2018 after a spectacular round-one flying knee knockout on Dana White’s Contender Series over Jamelle Jones.
Since then, Rodriguez has made the walk six times under the promotion but is yet to make a stamp on the division, failing to pick up any real consistency in his performances, finding himself winning a fight, then losing a fight.
The 32-year old from Boston, Massachusetts has 10 first-round finishes on his record and all victories have come by knockout or submission. Not a man to leave it in the judge’s hands.
How has life been like for you since making your UFC debut at UFC253: Has your life changed at all after the victory?
Danilo Marques – “After my victory, nothing changed. I kept training, kept my focus and that’s because nothing changed inside me. I kept my goals intact. I’m just focused on my next fight. Of course, my Instagram following changed, my Twitter following changed but that doesn’t matter. All that matters is your goal and how you’ll work to achieve that goal.”
We last saw you compete just four months ago with a victory over Khadis Ibragimov, how satisfied were you with your performance or is there anything you would have liked to do differently?
Danilo Marques – “Yes it’s been four months, I have a fight in one week and I’m at the end of my camp here in Cali at KINGS MMA. I’m always looking for a better version of Danilo Marques when I step inside the octagon. I’m always trying to improve my game for the next fight and I’m always working to do that. I’ve been working hard to be better than my last fight against Khadis.”
I like to ask fighters who have recently joined the promotion some questions on their past, to give fans a real sense of who you are and your story into the sport. Could you tell us a bit about your journey into the sport, why you chose to go down this path, your inspirations and goals?
Danilo Marques – “Of course, I come from Brazil and was born in Sau Paulo. I started in boxing and fought in boxing a lot. After a lot of time boxing, I started Jiu-Jitsu with my friends and trained in BJJ. I competed in boxing and BJJ many times. I started MMA when I was 25-years old, I was not an old starter in the sport but I also wasn’t so young. It’s a hard time for everybody that doesn’t start so young in a new sport but when you comfortable in front of others and have a lot of experience and fights, you will be better. In terms of my goals, it’s always to look at my next fight and to win that fight. I always think this way because if you think so far ahead you lose the present.”
How has your preparation been ahead of your bout with Rodriguez, I see you’ve been training at KINGS MMA with names like Kelvin Gastelum, how beneficial is it for you to get rounds in with guys like Gastelum, who has been competing at the highest level for a long time?
Danilo Marques – “The preparation for my upcoming matchup is amazing at KINGS MMA. I have a lot of big partners, Marvin Vettori, Kelvin Gastelum, Beneil Dariush
, and Fabricio Werdum. For me, it’s amazing learning from these guys with a lot of experience. So that’s a big benefit for me. We study the opponent a lot with our master and we have a gameplan and we will do the best we can to follow it.”
Do your camps usually take place at KINGS MMA, instead of in Brazil? Why did you feel the need to switch things up if so, did Covid play a factor?
Danilo Marques – “No Covid did not play a part for me doing my camp at KINGS MMA. I changed my camp to kings MMA as it allows me to have access to more
partners to train with that are the same weight, unlike brazil. Brazil has a big gym, Demain Maia’s gym. I had everything there but the partners for training is not the same as at KINGS MMA. I have a lot of friends and masters here now, I like it here
and it’s why I brought my family here with me. It’s better for my life.”
How do you view your opponent in Mike Rodriguez, he has 6-fights under the UFC, have you and your team managed to watch any tape and identify any
holes in his game you can exploit?
Danilo Marques – “I’ve watched every fight of his inside the UFC. I’ve seen his contender series bout before he got into the UFC. I’ve been watching him closely with my coaches after practice and I feel this is so important to identify holes, it’s part of the job.”
Rodriguez has 10-first round victories on his resume, how do you prepare for a guy with them stats and what do you think your keys to victory are in this tough matchup?
Danilo Marques – “Yes, he has 10 first-round victories but listen, this is a long time ago, UFC is a different ball game and he’s up against different fighters.”
If victorious on Feb.6 and come away un-injured, are you looking to stay active in 2021?
Danilo Marques – “As I said before, I don’t think about the whole year ahead of me, I just think about the next fight, after that, of course. I’m going to think about my next step, step by step. I can do better when I think about each fight other than the whole year.”
If you could map out the perfect year and fight, what would that look like for you?
Danilo Marques – “Of course the perfect year is when fighting a lot and winning them all. Again, I’m focussing on the next step and living in the present.”
Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images
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