For most martial artists, fight week can be one of the most stressful times, but for Charles “The Rockstar” Rodriguez, it’s honestly just a prelude to his party, a lit one.
Coming off of his ninth straight win at GLORY 61 in New York City, the undefeated fighter is even more geeked to throw down. It’s his second nature. The Bay native has always oozed charisma and energy, which drew him to athletics at an early age.
“I grew up in Vallejo and didnt have a lot of outlets for the energy I had. So, anything athletic I just kinda geared [myself] toward and anything in competition gave me something to chase after. Once I got into martial arts and wrestling, it gave me something I could never attain and something I could just chase my whole life, so I’m chasing that.”
Rodriguez took up running, seeing how hard and fast he could run until lifting eventually caught his eye. He then got into wrestling which got him addicted to constantly competing but didn’t quite fulfill his athletic itch.
“I never fell in love with wrestling, I liked the competition of it I was addicted to that part, but you gotta have a cooler head to be a wrestler and I fight kinda crazy.”
The Rockstar got into Muay Thai from one of his wrestling homies, Ryan Tsutsui Jr., who is the nephew to George Tsutsui, a world champion Muay Thai fighter who is now Rodriguez’s coach.
“He was like ‘my uncle is the best fighter in the world’ and I was like ‘well I’m gonna learn how to be like that’. That’s how I met my coach.”
From his first class, he was hooked, the grueling training and never-ending ways to improve as a fighter proved to be the perfect combo. Little did Rodriguez know that fighting ran in his blood. His father was a boxer and participated in Golden Gloves boxing competitions before his passing.
“He died when I was a month old and it was a tragic and really hurt the family. So, any information I got of him was always painstaken, no one was openly talking about him. I went up until I was an adult before I found out he was a fighter. Once I started showing a little interest in martial arts, they [family] was like ‘oh yeah, your dad fought!’. It was one of the coolest revelations I’ve had. I knew he was a Bruce Lee fan like everyone in the 70s but it was like wow he actually boxed. At the end of my wrestling career I found out he wrestled too.”
Fighting truly seems to be the destined path for Rodriguez, who has been making moves to make fighting his full-time job. Rodriguez is a trained massage therapist and has been running his own practice for 10 years while training and fighting all over the county.
Running his own business gives him flexibility and allows him to master a craft that directly ties into the health of his team.
“Massage is actually one of the perfect downtimes from martial arts, because I’m not like sedentary or doing something strenuous, and I’m very aware of my body mechanics while I’m working, which is very similar to what I’m doing when I’m training.”
The fighter is taking steps to rebrand his business to hopefully work out of his training gym, where he can treat clients and train all in one place.
“2019 is gonna be a lot more training, getting better, and staying on top of things. Even during the downtime between fights, sometimes I have to work more and be away from training. I want to make it so even if I don’t have a fight coming up, I’m just sharper and sharper. If GLORY calls me on a three-day notice, I want to get a knockout win.”
Don’t get it twisted-Rodriguez is no stranger to taking fights on short notice, he got the call to fight at GLORY 56 in Denver on two-weeks notice……after bodying a food tour of NYC’s best bites.
“It was my first time experiencing New York, I was pizza drunk. I came back at 200 lbs with no fight in sight. I went to New York with my cousins who are all foodies, thinking we’d just carb it up and then it was like ‘you wanna fight in two weeks?”
The welterweight bossed it up in the gym; not only make weight but to pull out a huge win in Denver, which also has a higher altitude than most states and is a true test of adaptability for any athlete.
“Rockstar to me is excessive and reckless. Or a reckless amount of excess. I feel like Denver kind of embodied that. I didn’t talk about it too much at the time, but I lost 30 pounds in two weeks.”
Rodriguez’s had a four-week notice for his last bout up against Malik Watson-Smith, who was a tough opponent that he’s had his eyes on since he was an amateur.
“I’ve seen him fight a good amount of times. The cool thing about this fight for me is that I was watching him fight before I was professional.”
Rodriguez took home the W at GLORY 61 via technical decision, making him 3-0 in the promotion. Wherever he goes, Rodriguez has an aura that exudes positivity and naturally draws all eyes in the room.
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For such an excellent executor in a serious sport like combat, he’s genuinely a light-hearted jokester who can most often be found singing Elton John karaoke. Fun fact -“The Rockstar” moniker didn’t come from music but, more so, his work ethic as an athlete and teammate.
“The first time I got called ‘The Rockstar’ was during conditioning. My conditioning coach was making up excuses for giving me an excessive amount of things to do. He was like alright your gonna do 20 of these and Charles will do 40 of these, he’s a rockstar.’”
Rodriguez bodied 2018 with multiple wins for the world’s premier kickboxing league and has hella moves on deck for the year ahead and then some.
“This is insane and I’m kinda gravitating towards insane, so let’s do it. Rockstar.”