UFC featherweight contender Yair Rodriguez claims the UFC plans to give him the next featherweight title shot if he can get past Brian Ortega.
Rodriguez will make his return to the Octagon this Saturday in the UFC Long Island main event. He hasn’t fought since his five-round war with former champion Max Holloway last November, losing via a unanimous decision.
After Volkanovski dismantled Holloway in their trilogy at UFC 276, the featherweight champion is awaiting his next challenger. If Rodriguez passes this next test against Ortega, he could end up being Volkanovski’s next opponent instead of the surging Josh Emmett.
Yair Rodriguez Could Face Alexander Volkanovski For The Next Title Shot
During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Rodriguez revealed that the UFC has promised him a shot at the belt with a win over Ortega.
“Yes, that has been said to me,” Rodriguez said. “That’s what we’re looking for. First things first, I’m going to win this fight and then give the champ some time to heal and then go for it. Right now let’s just take it step-by-step. First things first is Brian Ortega.” (h/t MMA Junkie)
Volkanovski suffered a thumb injury during his fight against Holloway and is expected to be sidelined for at least three months, with a return at the end of the year still on the table.
Emmett, who most recently defeated Calvin Kattar at UFC Austin, recently opined that his position as the next featherweight title challenger is set. But, Rodriguez’s comments reveal that may not be the case after all.
Volkanovski has had Rodriguez on his radar since April when he admitted that a win over Ortega would earn the Mexican brawler a title shot. Volkanovski already defeated Ortega at UFC 266 and a title rematch may not be of interest to him if Ortega gets past Rodriguez.
There are many moving pieces in the UFC featherweight division. But if Rodriguez can pick up arguably the biggest win of his career this weekend, he could emerge as Volkanovski’s next adversary.
Who do you think should get a title shot at Alexander Volkanovski next: Josh Emmett, or Yair Rodriguez if he defeats Brian Ortega?