Yair Rodriguez Talks About His UFC Departure

Yair Rodriguez opens up on his recent and surprising departure from UFC.

Rodriguez appeared on The MMA Hour and elaborated on the weeks leading up to his release from the UFC. Rodriguez said it all started with a conversation with UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby about wanting to fight Josh Emmett in the main event of UFC on FOX 28 back in February. What followed was a meeting with the UFC to talk about potential opponents for his next fight.

“I talked to Sean Shelby and he told me, ‘What do you have in your mind?’ I told him I think I at least deserve a top 10 [opponent]. No matter what happens, I think I deserve a top 10 [opponent] just because of what I already showed in the UFC. I’m 6-1 in the UFC. Not all the fighters in the UFC have the same record as me.

“I know I’m still a rising star for the sport or whatever, but I know I have done a lot already. I know [how many] fans I have inside the sport and I don’t think I have to show anybody that I’m not afraid.”

After meeting with the UFC and not having a definitive opponent for his first fight of 2018, Rodriguez said he wanted to fight guys such as Ricardo Lamas and Frankie Edgar, but those fights never materialized. The final straw came in the negotiations for a potential fight between Rodriguez and Zabit Magomedsharipov.

Rodriguez said he would have taken that fight at UFC 227 in Los Angeles if Rodriguez got payed more. After the UFC rejected Rodriguez’s financial demands, Rodriguez then asked to fight Magomedsharipov on the September event in Russia.

“They didn’t even want to give it to me in Russia. Then I was like, okay, you don’t want to give me more money to fight him in LA, you don’t want to give me a top-10 [opponent]. Now I’m looking — now I see how the things are going,” Rodriguez said.

UFC President Dana White then told the LA Times that Rodriguez and Magomedsharipov will fight at UFC 227 despite Rodriguez not having accepted that fight, calling it “Fake News” on social media. White soon released Rodriguez from his UFC contract after the “Fake News” post.

“I told them I will accept anyone in the top 10. I don’t need a negotiation for a top-10 [opponent]. This guy was No. 13 when I was No. 7. I just got beat by Frankie. It’s just one fight. I’m 6-1 in the UFC. I just think that’s what I deserved, and they didn’t want to give it to me. That was more about respect, respecting myself.”

Original Story: MMA Fighting

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