Yair Rodriguez ready for war in Brian Ortega rematch, sees another win earning him a title shot

Yair Rodriguez is looking to take out Brian Ortega again to earn another title opportunity.

Rodriguez (16-4 MMA, 10-3 UFC) runs things back with Ortega (15-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) in a UFC Fight Night co-headliner Feb. 24 in Mexico Cit.

Rodriguez won their first meeting at UFC on ABC 3 in July 2022 after Ortega suffered a shoulder injury during a grappling exchange in the first round. Rodriguez admits a rematch wasn’t necessarily on his mind but is viewing this as a new challenge.

“Not really,” Rodriguez told Middle Easy. “I don’t see why people keep thinking his shoulder just fell off for no reason. It’s OK. Everybody can think whatever they want about what happened there. If Brian wants to accept it or not, that’s not my problem. This is a completely different fight in a whole different environment and it will be great. Mexico is going to be a super tough fight, so it’s going to be interesting.”

Ortega hasn’t competed since then. Meanwhile, “El Pantera” has fought twice, submitting Josh Emmett to claim the interim title at UFC 284, followed by a stoppage loss to featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski in their title unification bout at UFC 290.

When asked about Ortega’s long layoff, Rodriguez wasn’t concerned.

“I haven’t even thought about if he’s fully healthy or not,” Rodriguez said. “That’s not my problem. My only problem is preparing myself for the best version of Brian Ortega, and that’s what’s on my mind – just being ready myself and presenting the best version of myself so we can give the people what they want … a war.”

Rodriguez is hoping a win positions him for a shot at the winner of Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria which headlines UFC 298 on Feb. 17.

“I think it’ll put me right there for the title shot again,” Rodriguez said. “Of course, it would have a lot to do with the Topuria and Volkanovski fight. I think that will dictate where the division will go and what are the fights to make.

“If Volk wins, which I think he will and I win my next fight, I think a rematch could be a potential reality. Max Holloway is in front of me at the No. 1 spot and I don’t think the UFC will want to go again with that fight. It would be the fourth fight between them, so I don’t know. We’ll see. I’ll be ready.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie