Rising UFC featherweight contender Yair Rodriguez is readying himself for a showdown with former lightweight king Frankie Edgar at UFC 211 on May 13 from Dallas, Texas. It will be the biggest fight of Rodriguez’s career and a defining moment that could propel the exciting striker to the upper echelon at 145 pounds.
“What is happening to me, this is not luck,” said Rodriguez in a recent media appearance (h/t MMA Junkie). “I work hard every day — like, really, really hard. My coach is here; he would slap me in the face if I lied. Every single aspect of my game, I work on every (expletive) day. I wake up thinking about it, I eat thinking of it, and I train thinking all my life is around just one thing, and that’s to become the best fighter in the world. That’s it.”
With unparalleled potential and evolving skill, the 24-year-old is on the doorstep of contending for the featherweight title and becoming a household name. In fact, “El Pantera” believes he can one day become a bigger Mexican combat star than boxing champion Canelo Alvarez, who fights Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. later this evening (Sat., May 6, 2017) on HBO pay-per-view (PPV).
“I can be bigger (than Alvarez),” proclaimed Rodriguez. “Mexican people, they already have a lot of boxing stars. But they don’t have an MMA star in Mexico. It’s just me. I’m going to be that star. I’m already a star in Mexico, but I’m going to be even bigger than that, because I have all the Latin American market behind me, and part of the United States market. I have all these advantages.
“A lot of people from Brazil and Russia and Europe, they follow me; they send me messages and follow me. I feel blessed.”
While Rodriguez has a long road a head of him in becoming a bigger sports entity than Canelo, he has been downright amazing through his first six Octagon appearances. If he’s able to kick and twist his way past Edgar at UFC 211 then Rodriguez may only be one win away from a title shot.
Without victory at UFC 211, “El Pantera” will be forced to travel a more turbulent road to stardom.