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Ricco Rodriguez in negotiations for return to the Octagon

Former heavyweight champ Ricco Rodriguez has seen a lot during his decade-plus run in Mixed Martial Arts including stints in PRIDE, WEC, and of course the organization he is typically associated with – the UFC. Now, after compiling ten consecutive wins, it appears Rodriguez may be poised for a return to the Octagon in the near future.

While a recent article on MMAWeekly indicated Rodriguez is interested in a homecoming, Five Ounces of Pain has learned from a source close to the fighter that talks with the UFC are currently ongoing. It is believed the deal would involve three fights and a six-figure salary paid out over the lifetime of the contract.

The seasoned New Yorker made his UFC debut in 2001 with a TKO win over Andrei Arlovski, then went on to emerge with his hands raised four more times in a row including victories over Jeff Monson and a title win over Randy Couture. However, he lost his initial defense of the belt against Tim Sylvia and eventually parted ways with the promotion after losing in his follow-up appearance (with another “L” to Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira sandwiched in between the defeats).

After the trio of losses Rodriguez went on to deal with a slew of personal problems, including a sizeable weight gain, and has since appeared for more than twenty other promotions including the IFL, EliteXC, and of course one-and-done YAMMA Pit Fighting. He has now cleaned up his life and gotten back into shape with both factors clearly contributing to his current ten-fight run (16-4 in his previous twenty bouts).

However, sources also revealed to 5 Oz. that the UFC’s initial plan for “Suave” would have very little to do with the light heavyweight division (which he has expressed recent interest in). If negotiations are completed and Rodriguez returns, the UFC is expected to utilize him against high-profile opponents only. Potential names include former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar and former UFC interim heavyweight champion Shane Carwin.

It is also believed that a rematch against Couture is possible as well with Rodriguez holding the afore-mentioned submission victory over the UFC Hall of Famer in 2002. However, Couture’s status is currently uncertain. He stated during an MMA conference in Las Vegas two weeks ago that he has not closed the book on his career but that he would only consider fighting again if the right matchup was offered. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Lyoto Machida were two of the names mentioned by Couture in regards to opponents he was interested in fighting. It is uncertain whether a chance at redemption versus Rodriguez is a match-up holding interest for Couture.


    hell-why not

  • matt says:

    I would like to see him back in the ufc but why would the ufc want to move him back up to heavyweight? he has gotten in shape and cut down to 205, there are a ton of intriguing opponents for him in that weightclass. Why would they want to have him go against guys who are cutting down to make 265, just to give Carwin or Lesnar a win over a recognizable name?

  • LiverPunch says:

    Yep it should be 205. Last I saw him was in Australia fighting at a catch weight of 215 and he was flabby as. He could easily make 205 , hell I think 185 would be possible with the amount of extra weight he is carrying at 218. He would be carrying 15-20 of fat at least I would say so if he really wanted to I could see him making MW.
    When I saw him in Australia he looked a little slow too. He will need to lift his game if he wants to make any impact at 185 , 205 or 205 + in the UFC.


    absolutely agree with you Matt-I am still in shock at the obvious work ethic involved with RR making the LH weight limit-that in itself is amazing

  • LiverPunch says:

    I don’t think he has fought at 205 yet. The lowest is 215.

  • ByronGiant says:

    I kinda wanna see him take on Frank Mir… heavy weight BJJ show down… which will end by KO


    Mir versus Rod. would be very entertaining-it’s not like Mir is a serious contender anymore

  • stone says:

    I’d like to see Rico re-match Randy n Nog… Then terrorize the whole 205 division. Hopefully he aint training with Tito anymore (stuck on stupid)… His wrestling n GnP would go a lot further in the LHW division as opposed to the HW’s… RICCO ALL THE WAY!

  • Rece Rock says:

    Ricco has been down a long hard road back and I say give him a shot whats the worst that can happen one of your up and comers beats a “name” opponent… Ricco / Coutore would be a cool fight but UFC would rather provide there youthful HW prospects the opportunity to get a “W” against a well established former champ because it looks good on paper, I think the ybetter not underestimate Suave cause I’m sure he can teach these prospects a thing or two and pull off a couple of wins in between. Rrriiiccccooooo… Sssuuuaaavveee.


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