Daniel Rodriguez has a message for the fans and "experts" (and even Dana White)who've said Li Jingliang was robbed at UFC 279 ... I won the fight!!
"It was a close fight," 35-year-old D-Rod told TMZ Sports just two days after securing the dub, adding ... "At the end of the day, I give Li the first round, and I took the 2nd and 3rd [round], in my opinion. I landed more strikes, I pushed the pace the whole fight."
Of course, Rodriguez, the #14 ranked UFC welterweight, fought Li following a last-minute opponent change (he was originally supposed to fight Kevin Holland) ... and the scrap was super close.
D-Rod -- who hasn't lost since 2020, and is 7-1 in the UFC -- was awarded the split decision win.
During his post-event presser, White told the media he believed Jingliang was the rightful winner.
But, Rodriguez disagrees ... and wholeheartedly feels if the decision went the other way, there would've been outrage from the people.
"If they would've gave the fight to Li, there would've been even more people saying I got robbed, or s*** like that," D-Rod says.
Despite earning the victory and now being a top 15 fighter who's becoming more popular in the sport by the day, Daniel believes he didn't fight his best fight.
"As far as my performance goes, I could've done better. But given this last-minute switch-up, I'm bouncing back off of a year layoff, and the guy f***ing hits hard bro, rocked my world one time. I had a great poker face, but yeah, that dude hits hard!"