“The winner and new UFC Heavyweight Champion of the World….Ricco Rodriguez!!!” The words must hang in his memory like a perpetual dream, reminding him how far he’s fallen, and how high he’s climbed back. Now, just shy of the summit you have to wonder if a win this week, would have him reach his destination. This weekend, BAMMA 5 will take place in Manchester, UK and on that card; Ricco Rodriguez will once again seek redemption. In his eight year odyssey since his last fight in the UFC, Ricco has “been there and done that” in the MMA world, fighting everywhere against virtually anyone. He’s currently riding a ten fight win streak and Dana White has been quoted as saying, “If Ricco wins this fight, I’ll consider bringing him back the UFC” which is tantamount to saying, “If I get hungry, I might consider getting a burger.” In this life, there are no assurances.
Ricco steps into this fight with BAMMA (British Association of Mixed Martial Arts) against another former UFC combatant, James McSweeney. James is a tough fighter, despite his less than remarkable 4-6 record and a win over him by Ricco would garner some consideration. There is something about beating a UFC veteran that people pay attention to. Even though there are some decent wins on Ricco’s current ten fight streak, a victory over a former UFC fighter will draw more response.
So assuming the brass of the UFC are paying attention, what does Ricco need to do to find himself once again in their Octagon? One would think he’d needs to do at least three things this weekend to persuasively make his case. First, he needs to make-weight. His fight with McSweeney is at a catch-weight of 215 pounds, and Ricco needs to make-weight. Dana hates fighters that don’t make-weight. Secondly, he needs to win. It might go without saying, but I’m going to mention it anyway. He has to win this fight to have any chance of once again fighting for Dana. Winning isn’t enough however, so the third thing is, he has to win pretty. He has to make sure he goes into the fight, fights well, fights smart but also is exciting. An uninteresting and effective win won’t get him a look by Dana and company.
Ricco is one of the only fighters to be removed from the UFC roster, only to sign and compete with WEC. Ricco fought twice for WEC splitting a pair of fights with Ron Waterman and Jimmy Ambriz. After that brief stint with WEC, he has been all over the place, fighting all over the world. He also appeared on VH1’s show, Celebrity Rehab, and has had notable public issues with his weight, even having fought north of 300 pounds. Those issues all outwardly behind him, he’s ready once again for the biggest stage in the MMA universe.
So, all of that said, what would Ricco being back in the UFC mean? More than likely, he’d have to fight at Light Heavyweight. He’s down in weight now, walking around at 220 or so, so competing against the Shane Carwins, and Brock Lesnars of the world isn’t a keen idea. He’s interested in making the drop, but hasn’t and won’t until the money is right to do so. In the UFC, the money is right. How would Ricco fare against the current UFC Light Heavyweights? Only time will tell. First things first, make weight, win, and be exciting. For Ricco, it’s the A, B, C to the UFC.