Nick Rodriguez aka”Nicky Rod” is the name you can hear quite a lot recently. However, if you still don’t know who he is or you are still missing some info why he is so popular right now, this is the article for you.
BJJ and Grappling Superstar Nick Rodriguez
Nick Rodriguez in a nutshell
Nick Rodriguez or Nicky Rod if you prefer is 23 years old model and fighter from United States, New Jersey to be specific. He emphasizes it with words “I got Jersey swag and a Jersey body”. His Weight Class is Super Heavyweight. While his Academies and Affiliations are RABJJ Academy and Renzo Gracie NY.
Nick Rodriguez Sport career
He started his sports career with wrestling in school. In high school, Nick was even ranked 7th in the state. He was really dedicated to sports. He talked about his motivations in this way: “Just knowing that I got my ass whopped today, but if I just learn a little bit then soon enough I’ll be able to beat that dude up… that kick-started my training right there.”
Then he continued wrestling in college. However, he dropped it after a year and focuses on his modeling career. To keep fit for his growing modeling career he began to practice BJJ in 2018. And then everything happened very quickly. Even not knowing the rules he was kinda beating everyone around. His own words in one of the interviews “I don’t even know the basics. I don’t know how to break fall, but I’m not going to practice getting fucking taken down, fuck that… All I know is how to take your back, and squeeze your face off, so that’s what I’m going to do.” Maybe this strategy it’s not the most complicated one but for sure for Nick, it workes perfectly good.
He soon becomes really into BJJ and wanted to be even better. After a few months of training, he found the best place to do that – Renzo Gracie Academy in NYC. As typical for him, he talks about it like it’s not a big deal: “I started off at a Ricardo Almeida Association, beat everybody there. They then sent me off to Ricardo‘s where there are a bunch of UFC guys and really great grapplers, beat everybody in that room, and then Tom DeBlass’, beat everybody over there, then Renzo Gracie’s with Danaher, and now I’m trying to beat everybody there.”
In November 2018 after only 6 months of training, he earned bronze at the ADCC trials and got a blue belt. Then everything went even faster. At the West Coast Trials Nick won the gold and secure his spot in the World Championships in Fall 2019. On this year’s ADCC mats he defeated Mahamed Aly, Orlando Sanchez, and Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu. Nick lost by points to Kaynan Duarte in the final. All of this being a blue belt with less than 2 years of experience. Nick received a purple belt on the podium. After all this, he defines himself as NCAA wrestler, ADCC Silver Medalist, and Black Belt Slayer.
Nick owes his successes largely to his training routine. For example before ADCC Trials, he was spending 2-3 days a week at Renzo’s, 2 days wrestling with New Jersey Regional Training Center for wrestling, 2 days at South Jersey BJJ, one day at Ocean County BJJ (home of Tom DeBlass) and also one day at Grindhouse MMA with James Booth. He also lifted weights every day on top of training two to three sessions each day.
What he is up to now?
Nick Rodriguez is definitely not the type that rests on its laurels. Just in a few days, he would compete in Polaris Pro Grappling 12 – Europe’s longest-running large-scale professional grappling event. On 30th November Nick’s opponent will be Luke Rockhold, a heavyweight UFC fighter (MMA 16-5), as well as a black belt under Professor Dave Camarillo.
Nick’s approach to BJJ
Despite his sometimes kinda cocky and simple attitude, he speaks very well about BJJ. In one interview he stated: “BJJ made me a happier person and has helped with my people skills tremendously. The networking involved with this sport has truly helped me blossom socially. Meeting different people each week allows me to give everyone a better understanding of the person I am. As far as fitness goes; Jiu-Jitsu has helped thicken up my core muscles and has played a large part in keeping me extremely lean even at 230 lbs.”
BTW you remember Rigan Machado’s “Flow Jiu-Jitsu” Nonsparring System? Nick’s approach to sparring is slightly different 😉 “If you’re a BJJ practitioner and have not competed then I promise, you have not experienced what Jiu-Jitsu is all about. Training hard rounds is good, but fully imposing your will on an opponent is a completely different dynamic. Add hundreds of people in person & thousands watching online; The nerves are there and most people break under that pressure. Mat time and the experience competing is king.”
So what makes Nicky Rod that popular? For sure his unexpected success. However, probably that won’t be enough if he weren’t also a young, generally talented, kinda simple guy with a slightly cocky attitude. He is just this type of person you can hate or love. There is nothing in between.