22-year-old, TUF Latin America winner Yair Rodriguez will step inside the Octagon for the first time since winning that title against Charles Rosa at UFC 188 on June 13.
In a recent interview with MMAJunkie.com, Rosa said he believed Rodriguez is fighting him ‘too soon, too early’ in his career. However Rodriguez, who is 4-1, does not agree with that statement and in fact believes he has much more experience than the American Top Team fighter.
“In some interviews he said he has more experience than me,” Rodriguez told MMASucka.com. “He says he has that advantage over me, but I think I have the advantage there because I have more experience than him in martial arts. Not just in MMA, in martial arts.
“I think my experience is not just in MMA. I’ve been training since I was 5-years-old in martial arts — Tae Kwon Do, Judo, Karate, Boxing, Kickboxing. So I think my experience becomes before, not just MMA fights.”
His answer to whether or not he believes Rosa is using that as a way to getting into the Mexican’s head was simple.
“I don’t care, because I’m here to fight, not to talk.”
The only time Rosa has gone to the judges scorecards was in his UFC debut, which resulted in the first loss on his professional record. He has finished all 10 of his victories by either submission or TKO.
“I know he has finished most of his fights, but I think he’s never fought with a guy like me,” said Rodriguez. “He just says I’m fast and I’m a talented guy, but I think I’m pretty good prepared for this fight.”
Again the experience factor could come into play and that could lead the American to overlook Rodriguez. Ultimately that does not matter to “El Pantera,” he wants to prove he’s no joke.
“I think a little bit. I don’t care if he’s overlooking me, I’m coming prepared for everything. I don’t care if he’s overlooking me, I don’t care about what he says, because I’m here and I’m here to fight. I’m going to show him that I’m no joke.”
A victory over a guy like Rosa will prove Rodriguez’s worth in the UFC’s featherweight division. Rosa holds a 10-1 record and his only loss came to top-15 ranked Dennis Siver.
“This guy is a tough fighter and this guy is a prospect in the UFC. I think if I win this fight, this can help me so much to get me to the next level. I am pretty excited for this fight.”
Rodriguez has fought all five of his professional MMA bouts in front of his Mexican fans and he still holds that with the upmost respect.
“It’s always a privilege and honor to fight in Mexico with my people. They support me so much in my social media and I think it’s important to have that support with the Mexican crowd.”