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Marina Rodriguez eyes title shot for next year: ‘2020 is the year of the belt’

Marina Rodriguez believes she might be close to a strawweight title shot in 2020 with a win over Cynthia Calvillo.

UFC Fight Night: Weigh-Ins Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Female strawweight contender Marina Rodriguez believes she could be close to title contention, especially if she picks up another win and extends her undefeated record after UFC on ESPN 7. Paired up against Cynthia Calvillo, the 32-year-old sees herself fighting for the title as early as next year.

In a recent interview with Ag Fight, Rodriguez explained how she felt like the UFC has big plans for her, especially because of the opponents the promotion has given her since she made her debut—following her TKO at Contender Series Brazil, in August 2018.

“Ever since my win, when I came to the UFC through Contender Series, I noticed that the UFC wanted to bet high on me. Back then – I think in only 40 days – they already gave me a ranked opponent, Randa Markos—I think she was the number 12 at the time. I didn’t win – that fight was a draw – but they still gave me another ranked one, and another one. This actually motivates me even more. Our goals is not only to be in the UFC, but get where we really want—which is the top of the division.”

Should she score another dominant win against Calvillo, Rodriguez said she sees no reason why she wouldn’t be ‘in the mix’ for a title shot next year—especially if she manages to finish the fight, something she has not done since her win at Contender Series.

“If I win this fight, I’ll remain undefeated, with just a draw. It would be my third UFC win. If I have a dominant performance, if I can get a knockout – which is a goal of ours – I’m sure I’ll conquer bigger things in the company. Next year I want to be ready for any top fighters that might come my way, because they are all tough fighters. I want to fight with tranquility, because 2020 will be the year of the belt.”

Currently on a two-fight winning streak in the UFC, Marina Rodriguez (12-0-1) scored unanimous decision wins over Jessica Aguilar and Tecia Torres both in 2019—and fought Randa Markos to a majority draw before that, back in September 2018.

Now, Rodriguez is expected to take on Cynthia Calvillo at UFC on ESPN 7, in Washington, D.C., on December 7. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a heavyweight bout between contenders Alistair Overeem and Jairzinho Rozenstruik.