An Interview with Jordan Rinaldi: In Search of the UFC

Jordan Rinaldi is 28. He’s 3-1 in his last four fights (10-4 all time). And on October 16th he will take on Clay Harvison, a UFC crossover looking to slingshot back into the big show. Jordan Rinaldi wants to win. And with the UFC in his headlights, Jordan needs to win. But he’s not overlooking this fight, here and now. He’s in full on preparation, brimming with confidence, and looking to make his statement to Sean Shelby and Joe Silva.

Interviewer: We’ll just jump right in. What’s your fighting routine, day-to-day?

Jordan: Day-to-day? Well, ah, I wake up and do a little run and then I go to, ah, usually it’s my weight lifting or sprint workout.

Interviewer: Okay-

Jordan: --So one of the two. And then after that I go to, it’s kind of the, my main gym. My main headquarter gym, uh, it’s called team ROC. R-O-C.

Interviewer: Okay.

Jordan: -And it’s, I go there, and it’s mostly a jiu jitsu gym. It’s a Royce Gracie network gym, but it’s, it’s where I kind of mesh it all together. We do MMA there more than jiu jitsu now. So, I do that. I just left there and I’m headed to work. I do, I inspect cars, part-time. To pay the bills, you know?

Interviewer: Right.

Jordan: And then after that, I go to boxing and wrestling, tonight.

Interviewer: Perfect, man. That’s awesome.

Jordan: Yeah, so that’s the daily routine. Starts at about 7 [a.m.], ends at about 9 [p.m.].

Interviewer: Alright. Then nutrition-wise: do you do anything special? Or just watch your diet?

Jordan: Not really, I mean, especially because I’m going to 55 [155 lbs.] this time. I’ve been at 45 [145 lbs.] and those I have to be really, really strict. But when I’m at 55, I’m not somebody who drinks protein; I think it’s the dumbest thing in the world.

Interviewer: (laughs) Alright.

Jordan: I want to be able to eat a big steak, instead of drinking a pretty disgusting shake, usually. You know what I mean? So, nutrition-wise, in the morning: some oatmeal, some berries of some sort, with protein. That’s the only time I use protein, actually. I use protein in my oatmeal. (Laughs)

Interviewer: (laughs) Yeah.

Jordan: And then, I have a sandwich, you know? I get some Boar’s Head, I love eating a sandwich for lunch, and a grapefruit. And then for dinner I usually have some kind of meat, or I’ll make Huevos Rancheros. (Laughs)

Interviewer: Huevos Rancheros, man, those are good. (Laughs) Alright, so the next question is: what do you, as a fighter, feel like you need to work on, moving forward?

Jordan: All of it. I mean, I’m not somebody who’s a specialist, and that’s seen in all my fights, ya know? I-the best part about my game is that I know how to mesh them together. I’m not great at any one thing. So it’s not that I need to work on any specific thing, I just need to get better at all of them. Because my—the best part of me is being able to mix them when I’m in there. So, if I can get each little bit, ah, better then I’ll be able to mesh them when I’m in the cage on my own. And it’ll be better, you know? So…

Interviewer: Yeah, I hear what you’re saying.

Jordan: So that’s what I have to work on.

Interviewer: Right. Is there anything, I mean specifically, that you, uh, that you focus on once you’re in the cage? I know, I know you have a lot of submission wins; is that something that you’re looking for? Or are you just mixing it together and you get it to the ground and that’s where it ends?

Jordan: Whatever I can do to finish the fights earliest, that’s what I’m gonna do. And that’s what I try to do. And, like a lot of the submissions on my record—yeah, it shows submissions. But it doesn’t show what happened before that, you know? A lot of the fights where I’ve submitted people, it’s me cracking them on the feet, dropping them or hurting them real bad.

Interviewer: Right.

Jordan: Or taking them down, spin around to their back while they’re half out and then choking them. The paper doesn’t tell as much as, as it can. Or it only tells as much as it can.

Interviewer: Yeah, I’ve watched a couple of your fights, just for review, that’s exactly how it goes. You’re really exciting to watch. And then once you get it to the ground, you’re looking for the submission.

Jordan: I appreciate it, man. It’s just boring nowadays, some fighters, you know; it’s more of a “who can outlast the other?” game and “whose cardio is better?” No, we want to finish fights! That’s what we do in our gym. We finish fights. And you watch people like Demetrius Johnson.

Interviewer: Oh yeah, Mighty Mouse.

Jordan: Yeah, [he’s] a maniac cardio-wise, but he’s on another level than everyone when it comes to skill.

Interviewer: Oh, yeah.

Jordan: He’s not a number one at anything, but he’s so high level at everything. It’s amazing to watch him fight. And it’s so ridiculous when people say “Oh, he’s boring!” No, he’s boring because you’re too stupid to realize that 125 pound men are fighting and they know what they’re doing.

Interviewer: (Laughs) Yeah, man. He’s my pound-for-pound best right now. He’s incredible.

Jordan: I think so. It is awesome to watch him.

Interviewer: That dismantling of John Dodson, man that was amazing.

Jordan: (laughs) I didn’t even get to see it. I was so mad! I forgot where I was, I might have been working or at a wedding, or something. I don’t know. But I was so mad I couldn’t see it.

Interviewer: Oh, man. If you have a chance, I think it’s gonna hit Fight Pass soon. Go check it out. It’s just—it was so hyped, and then Mighty Mouse just took him to task.

Jordan: And that’s what I heard. I mean, he just made him look like a fool. And nothing to take away from Dodson, because he is incredible, but Demetrius is just up there.

Interviewer: Alright, man. So moving back to your fight, how do you anticipate this fight going?

Jordan: I don’t know. Watching Clay, I mean, it depends on which one shows up. He’s—it’s not which one. Let me rephrase that: it depends on how he reacts to me. Because I’m gonna crack him. He’s gonna crack me. Is he gonna look to clinch? Is he going to look to—it doesn’t matter, because I’m going to do what I want to do. I’m going to beat him up on the feet, or if I want to take him to the ground, I can put him on his back. I can smash him, wherever it goes. And that’s my plan. I’m faster. He might be a little stronger than me, we’ll see.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Jordan: But I think I’m going to be much faster. I think I’m more well-rounded than him.

Interviewer: Right and you think you have an edge because you’re coming up in weight? So you have that 145 speed at 155?

Jordan: Eh. That’s something that I’ve never had too much of. I mean, I’m not the fastest, my timing is good. But I’m not the fastest guy in the world. And I’ve been working very diligently on that. I’ve been working the Olympic style lifting, trying to get the fast-twitch up. But it’s not my main thing. I still think I’m gonna be much faster than him. He’s not a—he’s not a fast guy. He’s a stalker who is relentless. And that’s what gets him wins: he’s relentless. He stalks. And he weathers the storm, sometimes.

Interviewer: Right. Where do you think you have the edge, skill-wise over him? Just purely on technical ability, where do you think you’ve got him?

Jordan: Technical ability is definitely on the ground, definitely wrestling. And, honestly, I think standup might be a wash. I mean, I’m not a knockout artist or anything, but my skill-level striking is pretty decent. I think he’s decent on the feet. But my jiu jitsu and wrestling have a clear edge over him.

Interviewer: And that was my next question, do you think that he has any, even moderate, edge over you? Do you think he’s got you anywhere?

Jordan: (pause) it sounds arrogant, and I hate saying this kind of stuff, but: I really think I’m better than him, everywhere. It’s so arrogant and cocky to say, and I don’t like saying it. But I think I’m gonna be better than him anywhere it goes. He might have a little edge—the only place that he might have a little bit of an advantage, a little bit on an edge, we’ll see, is in the clinch. Cause he has a little bit more size on me. But I think I’m going to fare very well, everywhere.

Interviewer: Alright man, jumping into the future. You’re 28. 3-1 in your last four fights. It definitely seems like your career is on the upswing, what’s the goal? Where do you want to be?

Jordan: I mean, it’s always the UFC. I don’t want to be anywhere but the UFC. I’ve—I’ve been offered longer contracts with other, well-known, organizations. And I don’t, I don’t want to be in those. You know? I could be in those, but I don’t want to be in those. I want to be in the UFC. And if you look at the people I’ve lost to in the past: two of them are in the UFC. One was a complete robbery, where I beat the fire out of a dude and they somehow gave him a gift decision. And then the other was me just having a terrible fight that day. But the one, I can’t even think of his name, he got busted for steroids two fights after we fought. And this was at 145. God, I can’t remember his name. But this was at 145. I am, I am a humongous 145. If you watch the video on it, it’s incredible. He throws me against the cage like I’m a ragdoll. You know, I go back to the corner after the first round and I said, “He’s on steroids”. The 170 and 185ers that I train with don’t throw me like he did.

Interviewer: Oh, you just, you knew immediately. In that first round?

Jordan: Immediately! And people, and I told people that. During the fight, and after the fight. There’s no way he was not on steroids. And then a year or so later, he got busted for it. And I was like: yeah! Of course, he did!

Interviewer: (laughs)

Jordan: And then his teammate was the one who knocked me out after, uh. I don’t want to say he was on it also. But I fought two of the same guys from, uh, let’s say a certain highly regarded gym.

Interviewer: Right.

Jordan: One got busted for steroids, two other teammates there got busted for steroids, and the fourth one knocked me out after he came in nine pounds overweight.

Interviewer: Wow.

Jordan: So, I mean, it’s just the losses that I have, it’s not like I was getting killed either. It was me making stupid mistakes, or people doing things they shouldn’t be doing. PEDs, you know? It’s just, I’m on the upswing, I’m right at the cusp. I’ve been there so many times. And it’s this time. I’m gonna go out there, I’m gonna beat up Clay in a very devastating fashion. And it’s going to say something to Sean Shelby and Joe Silva. And they’re gonna sign me. And if it’s not this one, it’s gonna be in the next couple. I honestly feel that way.

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