After all the back and forth, all the releasing and re-signing, a highly anticipated featherweight fight between Yair Rodriguez and Zabit Magomedsharipov at UFC 228 is off. The news was initially reported by MMABrasil.com, who reported it was an undisclosed injury to Rodriguez that has scrapped the September 8th fight.
Rodriguez was initially cut from the UFC for refusing to fight Magomedsharipov, who is 15-1 with three dominating wins in the UFC. But after talks with UFC president Dana White that led to Yair calling the whole thing a ‘misunderstanding,’ he was picked back up by the UFC and the fight was on. For a while, anyway. Now, just two weeks before UFC 228, Zabit is in search of a new opponent.
And if bantamweight John Lineker has any say about it, he’ll be the one to move up in weight and fill the void. Lineker threw down the gauntlet on Twitter and Magomedsharipov accepted, although he implied the UFC wasn’t exactly a huge fan of the idea.
“ Hey Zabit! Since Yair is out, and no one wants me in my div. Ill fight you man!!!@zabit_mma @danawhite @seanshelby @ufc— John Lineker (@johnlineker) August 23, 2018
I’m in! Let’s do it! Call mr. Sean Shelby but we called him. He said you’re too small. But I will fight you. Much respect for stepping up. https://t.co/n46k8gMN9r— ZabitMagomedsharipov (@zabit_mma) August 23, 2018
But judging by the reaction of MMA Twitter, maybe the UFC should consider...
August 23, 2018
August 23, 2018
Lineker/Zabit would be both the most ridiculous and greatest fight ever booked by the UFC.— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) August 23, 2018
@KevCurlss reason I love John Lineker number 184718195719— a StUpId CuNt (@robbieharry123) August 23, 2018
ITTY BITTY 5'2" LINEKER AND HIS T-REX ARMS AGAINAT A DUDE 6'1" IS THE BEST FIGHT THE UFC CAN MAKE RIGHT NOW— Mookie Alexander (@mookiealexander) August 23, 2018
As crazy as it sounds putting a 5’2 fireplug against a 6’1 beanpole, keep in mind Lineker is 12-3 in the UFC (31-8 MMA) whose only loss in the past four years came from a decision loss to TJ Dillashaw. Before that he was on a six fight win streak with wins over John Dodson, Michael McDonald, and Francisco Rivera. His last outing saw him KO Brian Kelleher in the third round.
With so few people willing to face Magomedsharipov on three months notice, maybe the UFC should take Lineker’s offer seriously. It would be one hell of a David vs. Goliath fight, and one we don’t doubt Lineker could win through sheer guts and force of will alone.