Nick Rodriguez: A Gifted Grappler and BJJ Black Belts Hunter

A former Danaher Death Squad, now B-team competitor Nick Rodriguez is one of the most promising BJJ grappling phenoms. The famous “Nicky Rod” is a no-gi expert who competed as a former amateur wrestler.

This article will provide BJJ facts about Nick Rodriguez that you may not know. As a result, it will highlight Nick’s tournament exploits, best grappling techniques, and other incredible feats.

Nicky Rod Is an ADCC World 2022 Silver Medalist

Nick Rodriguez defeated Felipe Pena 3-0 after passing through Pena’s guard. As a result, he advanced to the ADCC World Championship 2022 final in the +99kg weight class bracket.

Source: B-Team Jiu Jitsu

However, a powerful Gordon Ryan defeated Nicky in the final through heel hook submission. Yet, Nicky is the silver medalist in the +99kg ADCC World Championship 2022, which is a fantastic achievement.

Nick Rodriguez Is a Master of Body Hold and Control

Source: Takedown Breakdown

Rodriguez likes to change positions and is a master of control and a top game. He scores many points thanks to his significant transitions and guard passes.

The former ADCC World Championship silver medalist is highly explosive for a 220+ lbs fighter. One mistake against Nick, you’ll end up tapping!

Nick is a fearsome warrior who defeated many black belts throughout his career, including Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu, Mahamed Aly, etc. Thus, he deserves the respect of the whole Brazilian jiu-jitsu community.

Nick Rodriguez Was Born In Clayton, New Jersey

Nick Rodriguez (Full name: Nicholas Pete Rodriguez) came to this world on August 30th, 1996, on the eastern shore of the United States. He’s 6 ft 3 inches tall and lives in Austin, Texas.

Related: Austin, Texas, is home to some of the most excellent Brazilian jiu-jitsu gyms and events in the United States! Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner grappler, Austin’s thriving Jiu-Jitsu community offers something for you. Click here to learn more!

Nicky Rod Has Been on the Mats Since The Age of 12

Interestingly, Nick Rodriguez’s first martial art was wrestling. He was a competitor for Clayton High School and qualified for the NJSIAA championships as a senior, which drew the attention of Ferrum College.

Therefore, He spent one year training in Virginia but failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament, which led to a massive U-turn in his career.

Rodriguez Kicked Off His BJJ Run as a Grown Adult

Nicky attended college for only one year, then started pursuing his dream martial art. He didn’t begin Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a kid, he kicked off as a former wrestler at 22.

It looked complicated, but Rodriguez was just a natural talent and trained hard to achieve amazing things in the field of BJJ.

Nick’s First BJJ Competition Happened After Three Weeks of Training

Rodriguez kicked off pursuing a modeling career, and BJJ was an extra activity under the leadership of coach Jay Regalbuto, who instantly recognized the enormous grappling potential.

After only 21 days of training, Regalbuto offered him the chance to compete. The former wrestler won two tournaments without a single loss in the first two months of his BJJ run, thanks to a positive transfer from his previous martial art!

Nick Rodriguez Made First Wave as a Blue Belt

Yes, Rodriguez started his career as a white belt and gave a hard time to many senior black belts. But his first significant result happened while wearing a blue belt around his waist.

At the World No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2018, Nick won the gold medal, shocking the Brazilian jiu-jitsu world.

Nick’s strength and power were just too much for other competitors, who could not evade his skills. He submitted all three opponents with ease to claim the championship.

Nicky Competes in Ultra Heavyweight Division

Nick used to wrestle at 170 pounds, but he bulked up to around 220 pounds during his year of college wrestling.

If you follow boxing, you probably know the case of Vinny Pazienza, who gained 20 pounds but kept his lightning-fast speed. Well, Nick Rodriguez is not different from Vinny!

Super heavy-weight fighters are usually powerful but slow and sloppy. When a former 170-pounder joins the bigger weight class and keeps his speed, he becomes extremely dangerous for everybody!

Just look at his body; there’s no extra fat, and you can learn anatomy – Nick is such a powerhouse at +100 kg! He’s faster than the other guys, but he doesn’t lack strength, either!

Nick’s Favorite Positions Are Body Lock Pass and Blitz Pass

Nick masters transition, taking back, and winning via decision. He’s one of the fastest super-heavyweights the world has ever seen.

Rodriguez could switch from the north-south to a leg lock or a back take in the split of a second.

Furthermore, when he gets a hold of your back, Nick will not fish for a rear-naked choke every time, making him even more unpredictable, even for the best black belts in the world!

Nicky Rod Was Called Black Belt Slayer in The Past

Have you ever heard of Kazushi Sakuraba, the famous “Gracie Hunter,” in MMA? The submission specialist who destroyed the majority of Gracie brothers in mixed martial arts fights? Well, Nick Rodriguez is BJJ’s Sakuraba for a reason!

Throughout his career, many black belts were forced to surrender or leave the mats without their hand raised.

The belt usually plays a significant role in mixed martial arts unless you compete against a super-talented guy with previous wrestling experience like Nick.

Try to wrestle him; he’ll slam you on the mat. Try to out-grapple him; he’s faster, and his moves are extremely crisp for a super heavy-weight class.

Nick Rodriguez is a 170-pounder trapped in the body of a 220-pound mat warrior; there’s no extra fat on his body. You might be the most muscular guy in the division, but evading the superb combination of power and speed is hard!

Even FloGrappling made a movie about Nick, you have to be a star to reach that kind of ranking! He’s an inspiration for people all around the globe!

Source: FloGrappling

Nick Rodriguez Worked with Coaches Jay Regalbuto and John Danaher Before Splitting from Danaher Death Squad

After his leg lock loss, Rodriguez significantly improved his leg lock game thanks to legendary John Danaher.

Yet, Danaher’s Death Squad ceased existing in July 2021 and split in two due to personality conflicts and tensions between coaches and fighters. Nick transitioned to B-Team Jiu Jitsu with Nicky Ryan, Craig Jones, and Ethan Crelinsten.

Source: B-Team Jiu Jitsu

The combination of wrestling throws, top control, and excellent submission game turns Nick Rodriguez into a real weight bully on the BJJ mats!

Nick Lost Only Once in His Career Via Submission

Can you believe this fearsome warrior tapped only once in his grappling career? It happened in 2019 when Kaynan Duarte caught him into an inside heel hook.

Now, let’s think… this makes sense. You learn leg locks later in the game unless you train with John Danaher!

Nick was unprepared for this as a former wrestler, but this loss changed his thinking. So, he started working on his defense.

Moreover, Nick has also lost four more Brazilian jiu-jitsu bouts via decision, but nobody has ever forced him to surrender since then!

Nicky Rod’s Record Is Oustanding

Nick started competing as a BJJ white belt. While his blue belt ran, he destroyed many black belts and elite-level mat warriors! His record is 37-7-2, although he fought many high-level athletes.

Do you think you can do better than him? Try it out, but I’ll be honest – I have never seen such great talent and potential!


Nick Rodriguez is a real example of the syntax “it’s never late to start training.” He might’ve discovered his passion late, but his results are top-notch. Here are some of his achievements:

Main Achievements:

  • 1st Place ADCC US West Coast Trials (2019);
  • 2nd Place ADCC World Championships (2019);
  • 3rd Place Kasai 7 HW Grand Prix (2020);
  • 3rd Place ADCC US East Coast Trials (2018).

Colored Belts:

Colored belts can defeat black belt owners, but it doesn’t happen often. Nick Rodriguez is a top-notch example of a positive transfer between Brazilian jiu-jitsu and wrestling.

Remember, every grappling martial art helps you progress in the world of BJJ, but you must stay dedicated – you can learn a lot from “The Black Belt Slayer”!

I hope this article was helpful!

Related: Participating in top-tier competitions will let you unleash your competitive spirit and improve your Brazilian jiu-jitsu abilities to the next level. Click here to discover the top BJJ tournaments that will inspire you.

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