It’s been a frequent talking point, but never officially advertised: that Yair Rodriguez, with a win in the main event of UFC Long Island on Saturday, could land the next title shot at 145 pounds.
With Josh Emmett waiting in the wings, it seems as if Rodriguez has the inside track. And while Rodriguez himself noted that only the UFC can determine such things — during the UFC Long Island media day this week, he said simply “I think the only ones that can confirm that is the UFC” — it would seem that is indeed the case. With a victory, Rodriguez will be next for Alexander Volkanovski.
“Yeah, I have been told that it could be [a title shot],” Rodriguez admitted Wednesday.
First up, however, is two time-time former title challenger Brian Ortega. Rodriguez acknowledged this week that it wasn’t a match-up he was seeking, given the two are on friendly terms. Still, Rodriguez knew that with continued success, a fight with “T-City” was a real possibility.
“We had it on mind, yes for sure. It’s something that we knew would happen. We never wanted it to happen, we actually talked, Brian Ortega and I, and we knew it was something that could happen. But we didn’t want to face each other unless it was something like this— like an opportunity for a title, or the title itself. And well, here we are. This opportunity came, and we’re ready.”
While Ortega is known for his durability, Rodriguez believes he can secure the stoppage this Saturday.
“I’m sure he’s coming to this fight thinking that he can win, thinking that he can finish,” Rodriguez stated. “So I’m doing the same. I think that I can finish the fight.”
Watch the full UFC Long Island media day scrum with Yair Rodriguez above. The event takes place Saturday, July 16, 2022 with the main card kicking off at 2PM ET on ABC.