After a brief spat with the promotion earlier this year, UFC Denver headliner Yair Rodriguez says his relationship with the promotion is “even better than before.”
Denver, CO — It has been a long time away for Yair Rodriguez. And a bumpy road back to the octagon. Rodriguez (10-2) was a rising star in the UFC, winning six straight fights in the promotion between 2014 and 2017. Then he ran up against Frankie Edgar in a fight that probably came just a little too soon. Rodriguez suffered a crushing defeat, with the doctor stepping in to stop the fight. Then, time off. And a spat with the promotion that had him announced as being released after reportedly turning down a fight with Zabit Magomedsharipov.
Rodriguez was welcomed back shortly after, booked into the fight with Zabit, only to be forced out due to injury. When former foe Edgar fell off UFC Denver card (also due to injury), Rodriguez stepped up. Like we said, a bumpy road.
“A lot of stuff has happened between my life and my career lately,” Rodriguez told reporters including Cageside Press following Wednesday’s open workouts in Denver, “but I promise you guys, I’m a new guy. I hope to preform this Saturday, and I hope you guys like what you’re going to see.”
If this seems like a more relaxed version of Yair Rodriguez, it’s because “I appreciate my work even more right now. And I appreciate my life even more right now.”
“I’ve been through so much. Life is hard sometimes, it makes you understand different things and perspectives of life. I think after this fight, you’ll understand a little more about me,” the featherweight fighter explained. “I’m super excited, honestly I’m super excited, and I can’t wait for Saturday.”
On his fight against The Korean Zombie, Rodriguez admitted that “it’s a fight that I wanted for a long time.”
“I’m not the type of guy that likes to ask for fights,” he explained. “But in this game you’ve got to do things like you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to ask for fights. You’ve got to speak out. Who will know [if not]? Just you. So you gotta speak it out.”
“I already said a match in the last interview that I had done,” Rodriguez said. “I mentioned several names. Anyone. I don’t care anymore.” Despite that, he still put his name out there when Zombie needed a replacement for Frankie Edgar.
As for his aforementioned problematic relationship with the UFC, “we’re cool, a hundred percent. It was a misunderstanding. We’re getting to talking, and now we’re fine. Even better than before.”
That’s good news. And it allows Rodriguez to turn his focus back to the division he’s watched from the outside for over a year. “I think my division especially has been crazy. We have seen that, you know, there’s a lot of movement in the division,” he observed. “Which is nice. It’s always good to see new faces into the game. If the same faces have been in the game too long, then MMA needs new faces.”
“There is a lot of good names out there,” Rodriguez continued. “I honestly think 145lbs is one of the hardest divisions in the UFC, without saying nothing about other divisions, because other divisions is [also] hard.”
UFC Fight Night 139 takes place Saturday, November 10 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. The card airs on FOX Sports 1.