After a slick first-round submission in on Dana White’s Contender Series back in July 2019, undefeated heavyweight prospect Rodrigo Ferreira has hit an unlucky patch in the past months, at least when it comes to officially starting his UFC career.
The 27-year-old’s first UFC fight was originally scheduled for November 2019, but an injury forced Ferreira out of the bout. After recovering, Rodrigo was paired up against Don’Tale Mayers for a fight at UFC Portland, on April 11, but the card was part of the ones UFC needed to postpone due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview with Combate, Ferreira explains it has been hard to keep himself motivated in these times, especially when there is no clue when the UFC will be allowed to start holding events again.
“Those news are hard to take in, it’s one shot after the other, it’s crazy. I’ve been here in the United States for the past seven months, dealing with a bunch of stuff, it’s not easy. I was supposed to fight in November, I needed to get surgery and I couldn’t make it. I was training to fight on April 11, they called the fight off. I stayed in camp, they scheduled the fight again. Yesterday, I found out on Instagram that all cards were cancelled. It’s hard to stay motivated when you don’t have a booked fight. I signed my contract days ago, I took the fight on a three-week notice, which is not ideal, the ideal would be seven weeks. It’s different, but I took it. I called my physical trainer and apologized to him, I said I was going to rest because I didn’t have a fight anymore. Then I called my manager and he confirmed the news, then I talked to my coaches and they asked me to rest.”
Although he needs to fight in order to pay his bills in Brazil, Rodrigo understands the pandemic is not something to be taken lightly and just hopes things can go back to normal as soon as possible. In the meantime, the finds himself in a difficult situation, not knowing what he will do for now.
“The virus is a complicated subject. I have two opinions: an athlete needs to fight, because they only get paid when they fight. It’s expensive out here, especially when you need to pay for stuff in dollars. I’m staying at American Top Team, I’ve been here for seven months and even if I don’t have to pay for water or power, I need to buy food. It’s complicated, I have bills in Brazil, too. The athlete part of me tells me I need to fight. My solidary part tells me the whole world has stopped and shouldn’t we, too? I don’t know what’s the best decision, I just hope this passes soon, because everyone has been affected.”
Undefeated in his MMA career, Ferreira (7-0) has never gone to a decision so far. In his seven outings, the 27-year-old picked up five submission victories and two wins by knockout.