Originally from Indiana, Rhodes ended up in Milwaukee, Wis., living with Roufusport products Anthony and Sergio Pettis almost by accident, but he has since used them as a template towards his own success.
“For the last nine months I’ve been living with Anthony and Sergio, and watching those guys and their dedication and training, and being able to work out with them and live the same lifestyle, it just shows me the work that I have to put in to reach their level,” said Rhodes.
With the brothers and other members of Roufusport being active in recent months, Rhodes got a jumpstart on his return to RFA on Friday in Des Moines, Iowa.
“Working them and helping those guys get ready for fights, I was forced to get in shape really early for camp and now I’m in the best shape of my life heading out of this camp,” said Rhodes.
Rhodes recently rebounded off the first loss of his career in March to UFC newcomer Brandon Thatch by defeating Benjamin Smith at RFA 8 in July. The win puts Rhodes (5-1) in a position to get a lot of exposure as he headlines RFA 10 against fellow top prospect Alan Jouban (7-1).
“I’m really excited to fight him because he’s a stand-up guy,” said Rhodes of Jouban. “I haven’t really gotten to showcase my stand-up to date because I’ve been facing a lot of wrestlers.
“I’ve been stuck with only getting to box because kicks give wrestlers takedown opportunities. Against Alan, I can let go my full range of striking and you can really see me as the stand-up fighter I am.”
When asked if he felt the fight could turn into a slugfest, Rhodes replied, “To be honest with you, I think his striking is more brute force. He’s a wide swinger. He throws a lot into every punch and is looking to knock you out with every strike. I’m more of a technical fighter. I’m a sharpshooter.
“I think he’ll be a little wide and I’ll be able to capitalize being the more technical striker. It won’t be so much of a slugfest as much as a chess match of contrasting stand-up styles.”
Having already seen what a high level RFA fight can do for his roommate – Sergio Pettis recently signed a multi-fight UFC deal – Rhodes is looking to use the same method to get noticed and elevate his career to the next stage of MMA.
“I think it’s going to be an incredible fight and I’m going to have an incredible performance,” he said. “With it, I’ll be just like Sergio and I’ll get that title belt and the UFC will come calling.
“I feel I can beat anyone at 170 pounds and hopefully they’ll give me the opportunity to show it at the highest level.”