One thing I’ve learned about grudges: it’s much easier to bury the hatchet when you’re the one holding the handle.
That’s probably why Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight contender, Yair Rodriguez, is closing the book on his Jeremy Stephens rivalry, despite some extracurricular activity inside the fighter hotel last month in Mexico City.
To the victor belong the spoils, and all that jazz.
“Despite all the bitterness that can become an experience, we always look for the positive side of things and improve as human beings,” Rodriguez wrote on Instagram. “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.”
Rodriguez captured a unanimous decision victory over Stephens in the UFC Boston co-main event last weekend on ESPN2, a continuation of their Mexico City headliner that ended prematurely by way of “Pantera” eye poke.
“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,” Rodriguez continued. “I only seek to face the best of the best in the division and I hope that UFC after nine fights for them, within which eight are victories, seven bonuses for fights and performances of the night, give me the opportunity to fight soon for a world title.”
Rodriguez (13-2, 1 NC) is 8-1 under the UFC banner but his one loss sticks out like a sore thumb. “Pantera” was beaten pillar-to-post by longtime veteran, Frankie Edgar, at the UFC 211 pay-per-view (PPV) back in May 2017.
As of this writing, Rodriguez stands at No. 7 in the 145-pound rankings.