Just like that, Yair Rodriguez is no longer a UFC fighter.
Yair Rodriguez (10-2, 6-1 UFC) was being built up to be the next big thing. After winning the Ultimate Fighter Latin America, the dynamic striker received one hell of a promotional push.
His first four fights were all on PPV events, either top of the prelims or on the main card. He headlined Fight Nights for his next two trips to the Octagon, which brought his UFC win-streak up to six. The scalps he seized during this run included the likes of former UFC lightweight and UFC welterweight champion BJ Penn, Dan Hooker and Andre Fili.
Rodriguez was clearly seen as a potential key to that elusive Mexican market by the promotion. Having him fight in Mexico City as well as states with large Latino populations such as Texas and Arizona backed up this claim. It was obvious that the promotion thought ‘Pantera’ was something special. Just look at the first 35 seconds of the promo embedded below and you’ll see how highly he was regarded by the UFC.
Answering a few questions
In his last UFC fight, Rodriguez received a huge step-up in competition. Although he had not fought an opponent ranked in the top 10, he was fast-tracked into the title frame with a match-up against Frankie Edgar for a featherweight title eliminator.
After his demolition of Penn, Rodriguez was seen as the favourite by many fight fans. However, Edgar proved to be all too much. He mauled the Mexican phenom and got the TKO victory via doctor’s stoppage. Rodriguez was beaten up so much, he disappeared for over a year.
During this time, another hotshot 145 lber rose up the ranks. Zabit Magmodsharipov quickly became a fan-favourite with his own dynamic striking style. After his third fight in the promotion, the training partner of Edgar called out Rodriguez.
A lot of fans seemed to like this fight. As did Dana White who announced on the UFC Unfiltered contest that they were targetting it for UFC 227. However, Rodriguez was quick to point out on social media that the fight wasn’t a done deal just yet.
— Yair Rodriguez (@panteraufc) May 9, 2018
White issued his response. The UFC president told the LA Times that Rodriguez has been cut from the promotion. He made the decision after Rodriguez supposedly turned down offers to fight Magomedsharipov as well as former title contender Ricardo Lamas.
“The guy’s off a year, rejects a fight with Lamas and then doesn’t want to fight a guy below him in the rankings? He can go somewhere else. We have no use for him. He calls that fight fake news. This is real news.”
— Dana White (@danawhite) May 11, 2018
The UFC’s loss is definitely another promotion’s gain. If they ‘have no use for him,’ we’re sure someone else will see plenty of value in him.