Josh Emmett vs. Yair Rodriguez Interim Featherweight Title Fight Announced for UFC 284

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Josh Emmett, UFC
Josh Emmett, UFC 269 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

February 2023’s UFC 284 just landed a second title fight.

On Saturday, as UFC 281 was underway, promotion officials announced that Josh Emmett (18-2) will face Yair Rodriguez (14-3, 1NC) at the Pay-Per-View event in Perth, Australia. On the line, interim featherweight gold.

The fight takes place on the same night that 145lb champ Alexander Volkanovski moves up to challenge Islam Makhachev for lightweight gold. That fight was announced by the promotion earlier in the day.

Emmett has won five straight, most recently picking up a win over Calvin Kattar, though the ending was rather unfortunate, with Kattar sustaining a leg injury. That said, wins over Dan Ige and Shane Burgos among others already had Emmett on the short list for a title shot.

Interestingly enough, Emmett’s coach and Team Alpha Male founder Urijah Faber told Cageside Press late last month that a date with Rodriguez for interim gold was what they were hoping for.

“Josh is the guy who needs to have his shot,” Faber told us at the time. “Probably for an interim with Yair [Rodriguez], and then we’ll unify them down the road.”

Rodriguez, meanwhile, is coming off a win over two-time title challenger Brian Ortega. The Mexican star has fought just once a year the past two years, and missed 2020 altogether. Prior to the Ortega fight, he came up short against former champ Max Holloway.

UFC 284 takes place on Saturday, February 11 (Feb. 12 locally) at the RAC Arena in Perth, Australia. The first trip down under since prior to the pandemic for the UFC currently has the following fights attached to it:

  • Islam Makhachev (c) vs. Alexander Volkanovski — for the UFC lightweight championship
  • Josh Emmett vs. Yair Rodriguez — for the vacant interim UFC featherweight championship
  • Robert Whittaker vs. Paulo Costa
  • Justin Tafa vs. Parker Porter
  • Tyson Pedro vs. Zhang Mingyang
  • Joshua Culibao vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan
  • Jack Jenkins vs. Don Shainis

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