Yair Rodriguez pays respect to 'warrior' Jeremy Stephens, hopes for UFC title shot soon

Yair Rodriguez put on another fantastic performance this past weekend at UFC on ESPN 6 in Boston, and now he wants a title shot.

In what became one of the most anticipated fights of the year vs. Jeremy Stephens, Rodriguez (12-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) rose to the occasion, closing the chapter on their fierce rivalry. It all started in their first fight Sept. 21 in Mexico City, which was ruled a no contest after just 15 seconds because of an accidental eye poke by Rodriguez.

But all was settled last Friday in the rematch, which turned out to be a barnburner. Rodriguez dropped Stephens with a thunderous body kick in the second round and swarmed him, but somehow Stephens was able to survive. That put “El Pantera” up two rounds, but chasing the finish so hard emptied his gas tank.

In the third, Stephens landed an early takedown and controlled the round in top position. After 15 minutes, Rodriguez was awarded the decision in a “Fight of the Night” effort, and they showed each other respect after a memorable battle.

Rodriguez took to Instagram to reflect on his win and show appreciation to Stephens, as he believes he’s done enough to earn a title shot.

I have a great team, there are plenty of words to express such gratitude, not only to my coaches but also to my friends and my family for always being with me. Despite all the bitterness that can become an experience, we always look for the positive side of things and improve as human beings. I had a pending account against a great rival, I knew it would be a hard test in my career but I feel grateful and blessed by God for the opportunity to win this victory. Focused and improving day by day, I am sure that I will reach the top in this world. I go with everything and everything but I do not go alone …I HAVE A GREAT TEAM! .

My respects for this warrior who, despite all that happened before this fight at the end, showed respect and that this is only part of the ‘business’ business..I only seek to face the best of the best in the division and I hope that the @ufc after 9 fights for them, within which 8 are victories, 7 bonuses for fights and performances of the night, give me the opportunity to fight Soon for a world title.

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Cuento con un gran equipo, sobran las palabras para expresar tanto agradecimiento, no solo a mis entrenadores si no también a mis amigos y a mi familia por siempre estar conmigo. A pesar de todo lo amarga que pueda llegar a ser una experiencia, siempre buscamos el lado positivo de las cosas y mejoramos como seres humanos. Había cuenta pendiente en contra de un gran rival, sabía que sería una prueba dura en mi carrera pero me siento agradecido y bendecido por Dios por la oportunidad de salir con la victoria. Enfocado y mejorando día con día, estoy seguro que llegaré a lo más alto en este mundo. Voy con todo y por todo pero no voy solo.. . CUENTO CON UN GRAN EQUIPO! . Mis respetos para este guerrero que a pesar de todo lo qué pasó antes de esta pelea al final se demostró el respeto y que esto solo parte del “business” negocio. . Yo solo busco enfrentar a lo mejor de lo mejor en la división y espero que el @ufc después de 9 peleas para ellos, dentro de las cuales 8 son victorias, 7 bonos por peleas y actuaciones de la noche, me den la oportunidad de pelear pronto por un título mundial. . I have a great team, there are plenty of words to express such gratitude, not only to my coaches but also to my friends and my family for always being with me. Despite all the bitterness that can become an experience, we always look for the positive side of things and improve as human beings. I had a pending account against a great rival, I knew it would be a hard test in my career but I feel grateful and blessed by God for the opportunity to win this victory. Focused and improving day by day, I am sure that I will reach the top in this world. I go with everything and everything but I do not go alone .. . I HAVE A GREAT TEAM! . My respects for this warrior who, despite all that happened before this fight at the end, showed respect and that this is only part of the "business" business. . I only seek to face the best of the best in the division and I hope that the @ufc after 9 fights for them, within which 8 are victories, 7 bonuses for fights and performances of the night, give me the opportunity to fight Soon for a world title.

A post shared by YAIR RODRIGUEZ PORTILLO (@panteraufc) on Oct 20, 2019 at 5:22pm PDT

With only one blemish on his UFC record, Rodriguez has put on a show in each of his outings. But with several featherweight contenders on the horizon, it may be difficult to call him a clear No. 1 contender. Having displayed one impressive showing after the other, he certainly has a case after Saturday night.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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