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Alexander Volkanovski addresses Josh Emmett-Yair Rodriguez title shot debate: ‘Let them fight’

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, isn’t against the idea of an interim title being created in his division.

UFC returned to New York this past weekend (July 16, 2022) for UFC Long Island, featuring a pivotal match up atop the 145-pound weight class. Two-time title challenger, Brian Ortega, aimed to rebound off his second career loss versus one of Mexico’s finest, Yair Rodriguez. Unfortunately, the great night of action closed with a rather anti-climactic ending.

Late in the opening round, Rodriguez threatened the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Ortega, with a possible armbar submission. Rather than securing anything too threatening, the entanglement dislocated the shoulder of Ortega (watch highlights), earning Rodriguez the technical knockout win — along with a potential title shot.

Ahead of the bout, recent UFC Austin main event winner, Josh Emmett, appeared next in line for the reigning champion, Volkanovski. However, with Rodriguez’s win and Volkanovski’s recent surgery on his broken hand, the champion is fine with watching things progress from the sidelines.

“It’s still a legitimate win,” Volkanovski said on The MMA Hour of Rodriguez versus Ortega. “You can’t say it’s not a legitimate win. Obviously, that’s just how it is. Was it a submission? No, but did Yair play a part in that injury? Yeah, I guess he did. But it’s still a legitimate win. Let’s be real.

“I even said a big win from Yair gets him the shot,” he continued. “But to be honest, I don’t mind the idea of an interim title] while I’m sitting here. Let them fight for that No. 1 contender. I think they both deserve it. Josh Emmett and Yair Rodriguez are both in a position where they could get a shot. Is there screaming for them like it needs to be [one] of them? No, not really. So, let them fight for that No. 1 contender. If it’s for the interim belt then we’ll fight. Sweet. Cause I’m not lying when I said I want to be active.”

Volkanovski most recently put his rivalry with former champion, Max Holloway, to bed with a dominant five-round masterclass en route to a unanimous decision in UFC 276’s co-main event (watch highlights).

For complete UFC Long Island results and coverage click here.

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