Nick Rodriguez, commonly known as Nicky Rod, is a professional grappler – no-gi jiu-jitsu specialist – and former amateur wrestler who worked extensively with coaches Jay Regalbuto as well as John Danaher while representing the Renzo Gracie Academy-Danaher Death Squad team(s). Rodriguez first made waves as a blue belt, a time when he conquered a silver medal at the ADCC World Championships (2019), arguably the toughest submission-grappling event in the sport, a privilege only achieved by a handful of athletes prior to him.
Nick Rodriguez Jiu-Jitsu
Full Name: Nicholas Pete Rodriguez
Nickname: “Nicky Rod” – short for Nick Rodriguez. Nicholas is also named The Black Belt Slayer, a nickname that was born from his early days in the sport, a time when he was already beating veteran black belts in competition.
- 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)
Main Achievements (Colored Belts):
- 1st Place IBJJF World Championships NOGI (2018 blue)
Favorite Position/Technique: Body Lock Pass, Blitz Pass
Weight Division: Ultra-heavyweight (over 100,50 kg / 222.0 lbs)
Nick Rodriguez Biography
Nick Rodriguez was born in August 1996, in Clayton, New Jersey, United States.
Raised in NJ, a strong wrestling state, led Rodriguez to the mats at the age of 12. Competing for Clayton High School’s team Nicky qualified for the NJSIAA championships as a senior. After HS Rod caught the attention of Ferrum College, who brought Rodriguez to their wrestling program in the state of Virginia.
Rodrigues spent 1-year training at Ferrum and competing for the Division III college wrestling team where he went 34-7 and placed fourth at the East Regionals, albeit, failing to qualify for the NCAA tournament. After his experience with collegiate wrestling, Nick opted to pursue a modeling career while adding jiu-jitsu classes to his daily activities, a discipline he initiated in June 2018 with instructor Jay Regalbuto, at South Jersey BJJ.
Regalbuto immediately realized Rodriguez’s potential for submission-grappling, launching Nicky into the competitive side of the sport after a mere 3 weeks of training. Jay’s intuition proved right as the former wrestler conquered two pro-level tournaments in two months while holding on to an undefeated record.
After such a promising start, making a run for the upcoming ADCC USA East Coast Trials became a chance worth taking. To improve and test the talented jiu-jitsu rookie, Rodriguez and coach Regalbuto started attending different workgroups, which ultimately led them to Gordon Ryan, arguably the best no-gi competitor in the world.
Rodriguez’s first private lesson with Ryan took place in October 2018. Coach Regalbuto’s initial plan relied on Gordon also recognizing Nicky Rod’s potential and inviting him to Danaher Death Squad’s training room. The idea proved successful as Nick started visiting DDS in New York twice per week in the build-up to the ADCC Trials, taking bronze in the tournament 1 month later, with about 6 months of training. Coach Jay promoted the Jersey native to blue belt while he stood on the podium. Rodriguez made another run at the trials a few months later in California, this time earning his ticket to the main event.
In September 2019, Nick Rodriguez competed at the ADCC World Championships, one of the toughest competitions in the no-gi jiu-jitsu world, where he beat several world-class black belts on his way to a silver medal and subsequent purple belt promotion, (also while standing on the podium,) from coach Jay Regalbuto.
After his ADCC experience, Rodriguez started training full-time with coach John Danaher, both in New York and later in Puerto Rico, when the team relocated to the US-owned Caribbean island.
SPLIT FROM DANAHER DEATH SQUAD
On July 2021, coach John Danaher announced the end of the Danaher Death Squad as a unified training and competition team, alluding to “the physical location of a future school, personality conflicts, conflicting values and an inevitable tension between the team brand and the growing individual brands of members” as the main factors for the split (original statement here).
Later that year, in August 2021, Nicky announced his new team, one formed alongside a few of his DDS training partners, namely Nicky Ryan, Craig Jones, Ethan Crelinsten. This new group was labeled the “B-Team” with its training base being set in Austin, Texas.
NOTE REGARDING NICKY ROD’S RECORD
Traditionally BJJ Heroes has only accounted for adult black belt records as they signify an athlete’s entry into our sport’s elite ranks. Nick Rodriguez, however, is a special case as he’s been competing in the pro-grappling circuit since he was a white belt. This has left BJJ Heroes with a delicate predicament of defining when to start accounting for his match records.
Considering the level of opposition and the extensive list of professional athletes Nicky Rod overcame from early on in his career, we believed it would be beneficial to have his matches in the pro-circuit included on his profile, prior to his black belt promotion.
Nick Rodriguez Grappling Record
- BY EBI/OT
9 SUBMISSIONS WINS
- BY EBI/OT
1 SUBMISSION LOSSES
Nick Rodriguez Fight History
|18145||Hudson Taylor||L||Pts: 5x0||ADCC EC Trials||O99KG||SF||2018|
|21867||Kaynan DuarteKaynan Duarte||L||Pts: 3x0||ADCC||O99KG||F||2019|
|22008||Kaynan DuarteKaynan Duarte||L||Inside heel hook||F2W 128||105KG||SPF||2019|
|22494||Lucas BarbosaLucas Barbosa||L||EBI/OT||BJJ Fanatics||ABS||R2||2019|
|22999||Victor HugoVictor Hugo||L||Referee Decision||F2W 135||120KG||SPF||2020|
|23171||Roberto AbreuRoberto Abreu||D||---||Kasai Pro 7||120KG||RR||2020|
|23783||Roberto JimenezRoberto Jimenez||L||Referee Decision||3CG Kumite IV||ABS||4F||2020|
|25538||Victor HugoVictor Hugo||L||Referee Decision||3CG 6 Absolute||ABS||SF||2021|
|29748||Elder Cruz||L||Referee Decision||WNO||O93KG||SPF||2022|
|18140||Dylan Rankin||W||Kimura||ADCC EC Trials||O99KG||R1||2018|
|18142||Bill Brown||W||RNC||ADCC EC Trials||O99KG||4F||2018|
|18146||Andrew Tevay||W||Pts: 2x0||ADCC EC Trials||O99KG||3RD||2018|
|19112||Michael Egley||W||Pts: 2x0||ADCC WC Trials||O99KG||R1||2019|
|19114||Fernando Iraheta||W||Kimura||ADCC WC Trials||O99KG||R2||2019|
|19115||Jimmy Friedrich||W||Verbal tap||ADCC WC Trials||O99KG||4F||2019|
|19117||Casey Hellenberg||W||Pts: 6x0||ADCC WC Trials||O99KG||SF||2019|
|19118||John Hansen||W||RNC||ADCC WC Trials||O99KG||F||2019|
|19385||Joe DierkhisingJoe Dierkhising||W||Pts: 2x0||Forged in Fire||N/A||SPF||2019|
|20190||Q. Rosenzweig||W||RNC||Sub Stars||ABS||SPF||2019|
|20530||Ashley Amos||W||RNC||Polaris 10||120KG||SPF||2019|
|21799||Mahamed AlyMahamed Aly||W||Referee Decision||ADCC||O99KG||R1||2019|
|21805||Orlando SanchezOrlando Sanchez||W||Pts: 0x0, Pen||ADCC||O99KG||4F||2019|
|21866||Roberto AbreuRoberto Abreu||W||Referee Decision||ADCC||O99KG||SF||2019|
|22490||Victor SilverioVictor Silverio||W||EBI/OT||BJJ Fanatics||ABS||R1||2019|
|22696||Luke Rockhold||W||Referee Decision||Polaris 12||ABS||SPF||2019|
|23170||Vinny MagalhaesVinny Magalhaes||D||---||Kasai Pro 7||120KG||RR||2020|
|23172||Bruno BastosBruno Bastos||W||Outside heel hook||Kasai Pro 7||120KG||RR||2020|
|23173||Kyle BoehmKyle Boehm||W||Pts: 2x0||Kasai Pro 7||120KG||3RD||2020|
|25352||Yuri SimoesYuri Simoes||W||Referee Decision||WNO 7||O99KG||SPF||2021|
|25536||Pedro MarinhoPedro Marinho||W||Referee Decision||3CG 6 Absolute||ABS||4F||2021|
|29715||Steve Mowry||W||RNC||Fury Pro||ABS||SPF||2021|