Yair Rodriguez and Zabit Magomedsharipov have history.
The promotion tried to book the featherweight title contenders several times over the last few years; however, Rodriguez was forced to withdraw not once, but twice due to injury, leading to some harsh words from the Dagestani bruiser.
There was also this messy incident back in early 2018.
Unfortunately for fight fans, the Rodriguez vs. Magomedsharipov rivalry has been filed under “What Coulda Been” after the once-beaten Magomedsharipov abruptly retired from combat sports to pursue a career in health care.
“Well, I thought he was already retired, so I wasn’t surprised when I heard he officially retired,” Rodriguez told The MMA Hour (transcribed by MMA News). “It’s sad that we never get to fight each other. There was a lot of things between him and I that was said. But I don’t have any bad feelings towards the guy. I wish him the best. I hope he’s healthy. I hope everything’s going well in his life. It’s just sad that we never got to settle what we have.”
With Magomedsharipov out of the picture, Rodriguez will continue his march toward the 145-pound title against two-time title challenger Brian Ortega. They’re scheduled to hook ‘em up in the UFC Long Island main event this weekend on ABC from New York.
“Pantera” expects a title shot with a victory over “T-City.”
The same can’t be said for Ortega, who was thoroughly whooped by former champion Max Holloway and currently featherweight titleholder Alexander Volkanovski, so a loss for the former Modelo spokesperson would be bad for Ortega fans but great for the division.
To see who else is fighting at UFC Long Island click here.