Nicky Rod (Nick Rodriguez) has had a meteoric rise in the BJJ scene by winning the 2018 World No-Gi Championship and winning silver at the ADCC Submission Fighting World Championship in 2019 and 2022.
The BJJ competitor refuses all steroid accusations and calls himself the Natty-King.
Is Nicky Rod natural? Is Nicky Rod on Steroids? Does it even matter?
Disclaimer: We are not accusing anybody of possibly illegal performance enhancing drug use.
Is Nicky Rod Natural or on Steroids?
When Nick Rod was asked on Mark Bell’s Podcast if he would be open to using steroids or other PEDs (Performance-Enhancing Drugs) to help him recover faster and train harder, he answered:
“Above everything, what makes me better than all these guys is that I’m super consistent every day with my meals, with my sleep, with my daylight exposure, and with my training. I think those things are super important.“
He goes on to explain that most athletes use steroids and other PEDs to compensate for their lack of discipline:
“A lot of these guys don’t do the right things, but they do gear, and it makes up for the 5 hours of sleep a night, only getting half of your meals in, and stuff like that.”
“For my recovery is nutrition, sleep, and keep training.”
Later on, in the same podcast, Nicky Rod is asked what makes former teammate and now opponent Gordon Ryan so good. Nicky answers:
“His biggest thing is Steroids. You can’t gain 50 pounds of muscle and say it’s irrelevant. No, it is super f****** relevant. You wouldn’t be half the person if you didn’t do that.”
Check out our article on Gordon Ryan and his views on steroids and performance-enhancing drugs if you want to learn more.
Nicky Rod gets Tested for Steroids and other PEDs
Nicky Rod agreed to get tested for Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) under Derek’s (More Plates More Dates) supervision.
Check out how he sticks to his words and gets the tests done:
It didn’t take long for the result to arrive.
First, Derek from More Plates More Dates makes clear that there is no lifelong testing data of Nicky Rod available. Therefore he can only assess the current situation and states:
“I’m not saying he’s lifelong natural by any means.”
After in-depth assessment of Nicky’s bloodwork he comes to the following conclusion:
“What we can say near certainly is that within a reasonable timeframe, the guy has not used s***. He certainly has a good case to be made [for him to be natural] if he continues to subject himself to drug testing.”
According to Derek, Nicky Rod could cement his natural status through further testing:
“If he does not fluctuate dramatically in strength and body composition, there’s a pretty good chance that the guy has been natural.”
Derek’s final statement on the question “Does Nicky Rod take steroids or other PEDs?” is:
“I do think that he’s natural now. I also do think that he is probably natural within a reasonable previous timeframe.”
If you are interested in the details of the testing done as well as Nicky Rod’s bloodwork data, check out Derek’s full video:
Nicky Rod’s Transformation: 180 lbs to 230 lbs
Nicky Rodriguez weighed about 180 lbs at 17 years old and was already in great shape. Until he was 26 years old, he gained about 50 lbs of weight and weighs about 230 lbs at the age of 26, which is an impressive transformation.
You can see his before and after pictures below and judge for yourself:
Check out more transformations in our in-depth article on BJJ body transformations. The article covers the most impressive transformations of professional Jiu Jitsu athletes and casual BJJ athletes.
Nicky Rod Steroids: His Opinion on PEDs in BJJ
When Nicky Rod was asked by Lex Fridman if steroids help in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, he responds:
“I think if you are bad at Jiu Jitsu and you do steroids, you are going to continue to be bad at Jiu Jitsu. But if you are great at grappling and you do gear, it is going to enhance what you are already good at.”
Does muscle matter in Jiu Jitsu? Nicky answers:
“I think that muscle matters but technique matters more.”
Are Most of the Top Grapplers on Steroids?
When the B-Team (Nicky Rod, Craig Jones, Nicky Ryan) was a guest on Lex Fridman’s podcast, they were asked this exact question: Are most of the top grapplers on steroids?
Craig Jones stated:
“It’s hard to say. Some people look like s***, and they are on steroids. Some people look excellent, and they are not on steroids. So it’s hard to tell.”
“If you don’t test [for steroids], you have to assume most people do it.”
Craig goes on:
“It is cheating, whether you test for it or not.”
Is is worth taking Steroids for Jiu Jitsu?
Steroids and other PEDs certainly help with recovery, building muscle, and building strength. Therefore, it allows an athlete to train more and perform better.
However, taking drugs like steroids also comes with major health risks and drawbacks.
In the end, it comes down to the following question: How many years are you willing to shave off your life for a gold medal?
Craig Jones has his personal answer to this question:
“5 to 10 years maybe. Shave off the bad years, enhance the good ones.”
Every BJJ athlete has to make their own decisions when it comes to steroids, and these decisions will have lasting consequences.
We hope all top athletes stay safe and healthy, and the fans and BJJ practitioners don’t forget to enjoy the sport, even with all the accusations that are being made.