Nick Rodriguez: Jiu Jitsu’s Rising Superstar

Nick Rodriguez: Jiu Jitsu’s Rising Superstar

“If I can lock my hands anywhere under your eyebrows, I’m going to strangle you unconscious.”- Nick Rodriguez  .

One of the newest members of the Danaher Death Squad is taking the Jiu Jitsu world by storm. His name is Nick Rodriguez. And with only a couple years of Jiu Jitsu training, he is just getting started! He is a rare special talent that’s been improving exponentially and now competes at the top level.   

In this guide we take a look at Nick Rodriguez BJJ – Jiu Jitsu’s newest rising superstar.  

Amateur Wrestling Background

At 12 years old, the New Jersey native got his first taste of grappling wrestling for his school. Rodriguez picked up the sport quickly and showed potential to be very good at it.  

He had something that drove him. Nick hated to lose. If he lost, it only motivated him to train even harder. He had that drive! Rodriguez BJJ knew if he trained harder than everyone that he would outwork them in competition every time.  

Nick gained more success in high school winning a district title and ranking 7th in NJ state. But this wasn’t enough for Nick. His thought was that he won because he was stronger – not because he was technically better than them.  

In between his last high school match and entering college wrestling, Nick gained 50lbs of muscle. Going from 170lbs to 220lbs.  

He would only wrestle one year at Ferrum University earning a record of 34-4 at 197lbs. Nick dropped out after his freshman year and later became a model.

Nick rodriguez

Nick's Start in BJJ

In 2018, Nick was convinced to try a Jiu Jitsu class by a friend. He thought it would be a good idea to stay in shape for his modeling career.   

The intense competitor inside Nick had returned with vengeance. After only training for two weeks, he participated in his first BJJ tournament.  

Rodriguez used his amateur wrestling to take his opponents down at will. He submitted 3 of 5 opponents. Only losing to a black belt on points in the absolute division. 

(He didn’t know all of the rules to a BJJ competition when he first competed)  

After the competition, Nick BJJ had developed an intense passion for Jiu Jitsu. He realized if he wants to be good at it that he needs to train with the best. That’s when he found John Danaher. 

Enter the Danaher Death Squad

Rodriguez did some research and wanted to know where the best BJJ guys in the world train. He discovered that some of the best BJJ athletes train at Renzo Gracie Academy NYC. Less than an hour away from his home in New Jersey . 

Renzo’s is home to the Danaher Death Squad. A group of super competitive world class grapplers led by the mastermind of the group John Danaher.  

John Danaher has helped train countless world champions in BJJ and MMA, so this is where Nicky wanted to be.  

Danaher was quickly impressed with Rodriguez. What he didn’t know about Jiu Jitsu, he made up for in his work ethic, wrestling ability, and freaky genetics.  

Nick was on the mat everyday 2 to 3 times a day training with the Danaher Death Squad. He had a desire and drive to become a champion in BJJ and nothing was going to stop him. 

The Road to ADCC

In his quest to really prove himself, Nicky was in search of the best BJJ Tournaments out there. Nicky found out that the biggest no gi Jiu Jitsu championship in the world was the ADCC championship. It takes place every two years and the year of the championship just happened to be the year he began training.  

Rodriguez was determined to qualify. His first attempt was at the east coast qualifiers, where he entered as a blue belt with 6 months of training. He came up short, but impressively took a silver in the absolute qualifiers.  

Not deterred at all, Nicky would get another chance at the ADCC west coast qualifiers. There is where he punched his ticket to the most prestigious grappling tournament in the world earning a gold medal. 

Nick rodriguez

Nick's Legendary ADCC Run

With only 9 months of training, Nick Rodriguez BJJ had found himself in a tournament with the best grapplers in the world. Coming in at blue belt with just 9 months of training against former world champions was unheard of.  

Little did anyone know that they were going to witness one of the most special showings in ADCC history.  

Nick Rodriguez BJJ beat not one, not two, but three former world champions. He beat Orlando Sanchez, Mahamad Aly, and Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu before meeting Kayan Duarte in the finals.  

In the finals, he came up short, losing a 3-0 decision against Duarte. Rodriguez didn’t get the gold, but he definitely made a statement – he’s certainly a force to be reckoned with and not to be taken lightly!  

At only nine months of BJJ training, Nick did what nobody in the history of grappling has ever done. 


After ADCC, Nick was undeterred by losing at ADCC and still striving to be the best in the world. He has been headlining superfight cards across the world.  

Some notable matches were against Luke Rockhold, Vinny Magalhaes, and a rematch with Cyborg. He also took part in hybrid wrestling/BJJ matches against NCAA champion Kyle Boem.   

Nick also was awarded his purple belt a few months after his ADCC performance. 

What's Next for Rodriguez?

What we can expect from Nick Rod in the future is for him to keep training and keep getting better. He has a lot of talent and a competitive drive like no other  

Keenan Cornelius in one of his Youtube videos summed up Nick perfectly. He is a raw talent that is beating world champions and only knows how to take people down and choke them. Once he develops a game and learns more facets of BJJ, he’ll be hard to beat.  

There is no doubt that he will be a future no-gi world champion. Look to see Nick Rodriguez BJJ to continue to improve dramatically and become one of the best Jiu Jitsu athletes of all time.