Perth – UFC featherweight Yair Rodriguez has been looking for a title shot opportunity for a very long time, and at UFC 284 the moment has arrived when he takes on Josh Emmett for the interim title on Saturday night.
Interim belt or true title Rodriguez is taking it all in stride.
“I mean the journey’s been long. It’s been like 10 years for me to get here to this point finally. I don’t want to be disrespectful and saying that it’s not like the true belt or whatever. It’s just what it is,” Rodriguez told reporters on Wednesday.
“I think (Josh) is a really dangerous opponent. I think he can make some damage if he gets to connect a single punch so I’m going to have to be really careful with him. (He’s) a guy that I really respect. He’s doing this for the right reasons,” Rodriguez said.
“I’m expecting him to bring the best of him so it’s a war as always.”
The opponents may be different, but the goal is always the same for Rodriguez in every fight.
“I just think it’s the same thing. Every time that I step into the octagon I cannot disrespect the guy in front of me you know. Because he’s the best opponent that I could have at the moment,” said Rodriguez.
“Plus me. I’m always fighting myself. Instead of the other guy I’m trying to win against myself every single day, you know, my demons.”
Rodriguez will try to give Mexico it’s second champion coming off flyweight champion Brandon Moreno’s big title unification win at UFC 283. A clip of Rodriguez celebrating an earlier title victory for Moreno has gone viral, but he was not present in Brazil for UFC 283 when his friend unified the belts.
“I was pumped, you know, but I was hanging out with my coaches and some of my friends in my friend’s house in Mexico. I was just sitting there on the floor enjoying the fight. As soon as I saw him like winning the fight I knew,” he said.
I actually mentioned it in interviews before the fight that I think the fight is going to be over in the second or third round, and that’s how it happened.”
Watch the entire media day scrum with Yair Rodriguez above. Rodriguez faces Josh Emmett in the co-main event of UFC 284 for the interim featherweight title on Saturday night.