Nick Rodriguez (Nicky Rod) – BJJ Athlete

Nick Rodriguez

Nick Rodriguez has cemented himself as one of the top stars in grappling. After an outstanding performance at this past ADCC Championship, he proved that he was no fluke.

If you’re just hearing about Nicky “Nicky Rod” Rodriguez, here is everything you need to know. Detailing his meteoric rise from nearly winning ADCC with less than a year of training to this present year.

Nick Rodriguez’s Life Before Jiu Jitsu

Nick Rodriguez is a New Jersey native that got into wrestling at the age of twelve. He took to the sport immediately and excelled in middle school and high school.

By his senior year, Rodriguez would place seventh at state to end his high school wrestling career. Nicky would then get invited to be part of the D3 wrestling team at Ferrum University.

During his freshman year at Ferrum, Nick would earn a record of 34-4. This would be the only year that he competed and would drop out after receiving an opportunity to become a male-model.

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Rodriguez would make a lucrative living in this career, but it didn’t satisfy the competitor in him.

Nick Rodriguez Takes Up Jiu Jitsu

While Rodriguez was making a living as a male model, a friend invited him to a Jiu Jitsu class. Nicky Rod would take his first Jiu Jitsu class in 2018 at South Jersey BJJ.

Once Rodriguez was back on the mat, the competitor came back out of him. He didn’t know anything about Jiu Jitsu, but knew that he wanted to win.

The coach of South Jersey BJJ, Jay Regalbuto saw that Nick was a gifted athlete and had immense potential. After just three weeks of training, Regalbuto would encourage him to compete at a local tournament.

Admittingly, Rodriguez still had no idea what the rules for the tournament were when he entered. He would sign up for the advanced heavyweight division with only his previous wrestling experience.

Rodriguez would surprise everyone at the tournament and dominate with ease. Beating grapplers with years of experience with ease to win double gold at the tournament.

Grappling came easy to Nicky Rod, so he kept competing to see where it would take him.

Nick Rodriguez’s Journey To ADCC

After going undefeated in smaller grappling tournaments, Rodriguez wanted to really test himself. The year he began training was the same year that the ADCC Trials took place.

Rodriguez would take up the challenge and enter the ADCC East Coast Trials. He would make it to the semifinals of the tournament before losing by points.

Not deterred, Nicky Rod would travel to California for the ADCC West Coast Trials. This time, he wouldn’t be denied and won all five of his matches. Punching his ticket to the 2019 ADCC Tournament.

Nicky Rod Makes An Explosive Debut

At the 2019 ADCC Tournament is where Nick Rodriguez made his explosive debut in the grappling world. Going into the tournament as an unknown and leaving as one of the most talked about athletes.

His first match was against former IBJJF champion Mahamed Aly. Nick stunned the audience as he outwrestled Aly and nearly took his back to earn a decision win.

In his second match, Rodriguez would stun the crowd again. Taking out former ADCC champion Orlando Sanchez by decision. 

The crowd was buzzing about Nicky Rod and he would bring them to their feet in his next bout. Beating yet another former world champion in Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu by decision to earn his spot in the finals.

Kaynan Duarte would beat Rodriguez in the finals, but the crowd were amazed by Nicky Rod’s performance. Nearly winning the biggest grappling tournament in the world with less than a year of experience.

Nick Rodriguez Joins the Danaher Death Squad

One person that watched Nicky Rod’s amazing performance was the legendary coach John Danaher. John saw that Rodriguez was a super athlete and had limitless potential. 

He would join the famous Danaher Death Squad and begin to develop a Jiu Jitsu game. For the next few years, Rodriguez would begin to develop his skills and compete on the pro grappling circuit.

His determination impressed Danaher and he was on the mat getting better every day.

Nicky Rod Goes to Puerto Rico

The grappling world was shocked in 2021 when the Danaher Death Squad left Renzo Gracie’s Academy in New York. Deciding to make camp in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

It was their attempt to try and build a super team. Trying to lure the best grappler in the world to train in an island paradise setting.

The Breakup of the Danaher Death Squad

The move to Puerto Rico would turn out to be a failure for the DDS team. Gordon Ryan announced that the project had ended and that he was moving to Austin, Texas.

This announcement was followed by another message by DDS leader, John Danaher. On Instagram, Danaher announced that the Danaher Death Squad had broken up.

Citing a difference in training philosophies, where two groups decided to go their separate ways. John would also announce that he would be forming a new team along with Gordon Ryan and Garry Tonon.

The Creation of the B-Team

Following the breakup of DDS, the other members announced that they were also creating their own team. This team would consist of Nick Rodriguez, Nicky Ryan, Craig Jones, and Ethan Crelinsten.

They would decide to call their new Jiu Jitsu squad, “the B-Team.” Sort of a joke has many considered them the B members of the Danaher Death Squad.

Oddly enough, the B-Team also opened its new school in Austin, Texas. While B-Team and Gordon Ryan’s New Wave Jiu Jitsu are in the same city, they don’t cross-train, but remain respectful.

Nick Rodriguez at ADCC 2022

Throughout 2022, Nicky Rod and the B-Team had been preparing for the 2022 ADCC Tournament. There were a lot of stories going into the tournament.

People were wondering if Nicky Rod could catch lightning in a bottle twice. Possibly even winning gold at the tournament.

One of the biggest stories going into the tournament was the possible matchup between Rodriguez and former teammate Gordon Ryan.

Along with fighting in a superfight, Ryan had also entered into the 99+ kg division that Nick was also in. The potential matchup had the crowd excited to watch the bracket unfold.

Nick Rodriguez Early Bracket Matches

Early on, Nicky Rod proved that his ADCC debut was no fluke. He would dominate in his first match, winning 8-0 against Damon Ramos and beating John Hansen by RNC.

These two wins would put Rodriguez in the semifinals against other division favorite Felipe Pena. Many thought Pena would win the match, but Nick was used to proving people wrong.

The two would have a back-and-forth battle with Felipe. Before the five-minute mark, before points were called, Pena would pull guard.

Nick would stun the thousands watching as he passed Pena’s guard with a body lock pass. Earning three points for the pass and earning the victory over the highly touted Brazilian.

Nick Rodriguez vs. Gordon Ryan in the Finals

The potential matchup between two former teammates came to be in the division finals. Gordon Ryan vs. Nick Rodriguez.

When their match started, Ryan was aware of Rodriguez’s takedown ability and would pull guard. He would then set up one of his patented leg locks and synched in a heel hook on Nick.

Forcing him to tap out in the opening minutes of their match. Nick would once again have to settle for second place again in his 2nd ADCC appearance.

He would also enter into the absolute division. Winning his first match against Andy Varela and losing in the quarter-finals to Yuri Simoes, who won the absolute division.

Nick Rodriguez’s BJJ Fanatics Instructional 

Nick Rodriguez’s work has not gone unnoticed. His hard work has led to him becoming an official BJJ Fanatics instructor. 

Rodriguez has recorded multiple technique breakdowns for their YouTube channel. Also multiple instructional videos including his patented takedown to back control setups.

After his performance against Felipe Pena, many are already asking for a breakdown of his effective body lock pass.

What’s Next For Nick Rodriguez?

Nicky Rod was disappointed coming up short at ADCC again, but not deterred. He is an unbelievable athlete with a drive to win like no other. 

What is unbelievable about Nick Rodriguez is that he’s only been training Jiu Jitsu for around four years. His potential seems to have no limit and we’re going to see more of Nick for years to come.