Yair Rodriguez is looking to become the undisputed UFC featherweight champion with or without Alexander Volkanovski.
There is a new interim featherweight champion in the UFC. Yair Rodriguez defeated Josh Emmett in the co-main event of UFC 284 to add some gold around his waist. The interim belt was created after champion Alexander Volkanovski decided to move up in weight to challenge for the lightweight belt. Securing the interim title puts Rodriguez in as the next to face Volkanovski now that his bid for the 155-pound strap was unsuccessful. However, there could be one thing standing in the way.
The fight between Volkanovski and Islam Makhachev was very close. There have already been talks of a rematch. If that is the case, Rodriguez is not worried and will just continue on as usual.
Yair Rodriguez knows he will be fighting for the undisputed title next
Rodriguez is not worrying too much about the next steps of Volkanovski. Now that he is holding the interim belt he knows that his next outing will be to unify it. If Volkanovski decides to stay at lightweight and challenge Makhachev again, Rodriguez feels the UFC will strip Volkanovski and promote him.
“I think it’s just too soon to hear something like that but whatever, you know, at the end of the day if you decided not to defend the title now it makes me the undisputed champion, why because I’m going to defend the belt against somebody else,” he said on The MMA Hour. “And what’s gonna happen? I’m going to be the undisputed champion. If he decides to come and fights 145 pounds again then whoever wins that fight will be undisputed, so regardless of the situation.”
When it comes to when his next fight might happen, Rodriguez is being very flexible. He mentioned that he is willing to work around the UFC’s schedule and can be ready at any time.
“I think I’ll be okay with whatever, whatever comes first, I’ll have to talk to the UFC,” he said. “I was trying to push for Mexico City, you know, because they’ll be amazing for me and my people, of course, but I’ll be happy with May, June, or maybe even when is International Fight Week? July? July will be awesome too, you know, so, whatever the UFC wants me to do.”
Volkanovski had to bulk up a bit to allow himself to be competitive at lightweight so now with the return to 145 pounds it might take him some time to lose the extra weight. He has not mentioned a timeframe but has been open about wanting to remain active.