Since starting his professional MMA career in 1999, 32-year-old former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez has amassed an impressive record of 42 wins and only 11 losses. He is currently riding a seven fight win streak.

Aside from his stint on the VH1 reality show “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew”, much of Rodriguez’s career in recent years has been out of the public eye, due in large part to him competing in lesser known regional promotions in most of his fights.

Having won 22 of his 42 victories by submission, Rodriguez has always had an impressive ground game. In May of this year, he took part in the UFC Fan Expo 2010 Grapplers Quest tournament, and almost as impressive as his performance was the shape he was in.

One of Rodriguez’s problems over the years has been his tendency to let himself get out of shape and put on weight, having ballooned up to as large as 350 lbs. at one point. However, currently, as you will see in the videos below, he appears to be in tremendous shape, possibly the best he’s ever looked.

In this first video, Rodriguez takes on Andy Reed in the Advanced Division Finals. Reed fights out of Cael Sanderson and Ricky Lundell’s University of Grappling in Utah. It’s a competitive bout but in the end Rodriguez shows his explosiveness by pulling off a very slick match-ending submission (Don’t want to spoil the ending for you).

In this round, Rodriguez takes on Team Mica’s Kelly Gray. Gray looks like Thierry Sokoudjou‘s long lost brother. Gray is obviously strong and athletic and Ricco controls position and defeats him on points.

In this final video and round, Rodriguez took on another University of Grappling competitor, Robert McConkie, who looks similar to a super-sized Roy Nelson. Rodriguez makes fairly short work of the big man, this time pulling guard and attacking from the bottom.

Is there any chance we could see Rodriguez back in one of the larger MMA promotions such as M-1, Strikeforce, or dare we say even the UFC? If they brought back Phil Baroni and Mark Coleman, why not Ricco Rodriguez? What do you think; why or why not?

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