Yair Rodriguez: “I’m a Champion”
MMAjunkie recently spoke to UFC fighter Yair Rodriguez ahead of his upcoming main event fight with former UFC champion BJ Penn at UFC Fight Night 103. Here are some highlights.
Rodriguez on believing he’s a champion: “I’m a champion. Since I was a kid, I knew I was a champion. I know I’m different. I’m a different kind of animal. All the people around me know that. I know that.”
Rodriguez on not asking to fight Penn: “B.J. is saying that I asked for this fight, and I never asked for this fight. I don’t know who told him that. The UFC just offered me the fight, and I said yes, so here we are, preparing ourselves to get in a war on Jan. 15. I don’t know who told B.J. that I was asking for the fight, but he is wrong. I actually never knew that he was coming back from his retirement until the UFC offered me the fight, so here I am, fighting B.J.”
His thoughts on fighting Penn: “Fighting B.J. Penn is a pretty big deal. He’s already a two-time world champion in two different weightclasses, so it makes it a pretty big deal for me, a pretty big test for my career. It’s a good opportunity to be tested by the UFC and see if they want to give me the title shot soon or not. I think this fight puts me in a good position for that tile shot if I win. First of all, I have to win against a legend. But he’s not just a legend, he’s a real life, bone-and-muscle guy in front of me trying to rip my head off. He has a lot of experience. He’s in the Hall of Fame. He knows what it takes to be a champion, and it’s a really big test for me, to fight a guy who knows what it takes to be a champion. It’s good for me. It’s good preparation. I know his guy is going to be hard to beat, but I don’t care. That’s what I’m here for, to fight the toughest guys in the world.”