Brian Rogers feels that like he’s shown time and time again that when the bright lights come on, he delivers.
A six-year veteran of the sport, Rogers (11-6) has spent the past three years competing inside the Bellator cage. He’s fought against the likes of current middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko, Andreas Spang, Dan Cramer and Mikkel Parlo, and is coming off another highlight-reel finish vs. Adrian Miles.
With nine knockout and one submission victory to his credit, Rogers feels more and more people and sponsors should be in his corner come fight-night. Instead, he’s left wondering “what else can I do” to make a name for himself.
“I wish I would get a little bit more respect,” said Rogers, in a recent interview with FightLine.com. “I wish I would get more admiration for the entertainment value and excitement value I bring. With the hardcore fans, they know that, but I wish I had more sponsorship money. I do a good job of promoting and working with the companies that I do have, but I would like to see that change.
“A lot of MMA fighters get commended and sponsors throw money at them even if they don’t perform and don’t entertain the fans well. Win or lose, I feel like I am one of the most exciting fighters there is. I have ‘Fight of the Night’ performances every time.
“Look at the fights I’ve had and you’ll see that every fight I’ve had has been a ‘Fight of the Night’ or ‘Knockout of the Night.'”
The flying knee finish vs. Miles earlier this month was the second such KO delivery Rogers has connected on, as he also dropped Vitor Vianna in 2012. He’s competed in four Bellator middleweight tournaments, reaching the semifinals in 2011 before falling to Shlemenko.
Recently, Shlemenko called out Tito Ortiz for a fight at the Bellator pay-per-view. The champion, who’s title was not on the line, was submitted in the first round.
“I thought Shlemenko was tagging him in the beginning and if somebody had more power, they could have knocked Tito out,” Rogers said. “Shlemenko fought off a few takedowns, he just got caught in a bad position. Tito gobbled it up quickly and didn’t let the opportunity go.
“He caught him and capitalized on him. I am a guy who has more power and I wouldn’t let it happen to me for sure.”
Some pointed to the weight advantage Ortiz had for giving him an easy night and win, but Rogers doesn’t see it that way. Having been inside the cage with Shlemenko, and trained for him, he spotted things the naked eye might have missed.
“Shlemenko gets frustrated when he’s on the ground, and I’m sure he’s not happy about (the loss), but people looking for excuses and saying the size advantage was the reason for the outcome are missing the technical mistake he made,” Rogers said. “He left his arm hanging. That was why he got submitted. It had nothing to do with size. It was the technical aspect and you can tell he doesn’t do a ton of jiu-jitsu.”
Does that mean we might be seeing a potential Rogers-Ortiz contest in the future?
“I’m talking with Bellator right now and trying to figure out a few things,” he said. “If it was brought my way, I’m not saying no. Whatever happens, I wouldn’t turn it down.”
For now, Rogers is enjoying some time away from the daily grind of training and school. He recently completed course work to achieve his Master’s degree in Science in Education with an emphasis on coaching and leadership at the University of Akron, but will be returning to Denver soon to get back into the gym.
— Brian Rogers (@BRogthePredator) May 30, 2014
After taking up training all around the world, from Toronto and Tristar to Atlanta with former UFC fighter Brian Stann, Rogers has found a solid base and home in Colorado.
“It’s a good squad of guys I’ve got to train with,” he said. “(UFC veteran) Chris Camozzi has been a long-time friend of mine and is my main training partner. We’ve got Dustin Jacoby, who fights for Glory, Cortez Coleman, Nate Marquardt, Gilbert Smith, Joe Warren and a whole bunch of other really good fighters.
“I was travelling a lot before with my training, but now I feel like I’m getting better individual instructions and gotten more technical with my approach.”
You can follow Rogers on Twitter.