Yair Rodriguez has revealed that he did not want to fight Brian Ortega.
Former title challenger Brian Ortega is set to take on Yair Rodriguez in the headlining bout of UFC on ABC 3 on July 16 at the UBS Arena, Elmont, New York. It’s a big opportunity for both athletes as they compete in the main event of the coveted ABC card, the third since the partnership with the UFC.
Yair Rodriguez didn’t want to fight Brian Ortega
In a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Yair Rodriguez talked about his upcoming matchup with “T-City”. Rodriguez shared that he didn’t want to compete against one of his good friends. He also stated that they had talked about the possibility in the past and now that it’s there, the prospect is too hard to miss.
“We didn’t want to fight each other unless we had to. Now, this is an opportunity for both of us, and we have to fight each other. As I said before, this is not the opponent I wanted but the opportunity I wanted and here we are facing each other for this big opportunity. So, it’s an important fight like you said.”
“It’s not the opponent, it’s just the opportunity, it’s the ranking. It doesn’t really matter as I’ve said before. You’re in the mix, you wanna fight basically all of the guys. As soon as they gave the opportunity, they’ll fight you or you’ll fight them.”
Rodriguez looking to get a title shot
The third-ranked contender at featherweight, “El Pantero” is hoping to get a title shot if he’s able to dispatch Ortega. Besides Josh Emmett, there are two other men above him in the division. One of those is Ortega, who has already had a shot at the 145 lbs gold.
Max Holloway, who’s the top contender, has already fought the champion Alex Volkanovski recently in a decisive third defeat. Other than Emmett, there doesn’t seem to be a clear opponent for Volkanovski.
If Rodriguez comes out on top this weekend, he could be looking for a showdown with “The Great”. Volkanovski has expressed interest in moving up to 155 lbs to attain double champ status so it’s likely that a win may pit Rodriguez across from Emmett in a top contender contest.