Earlier this month, on the main card of UFC 211, red hot featherweight prospect Yair Rodriguez hit a road block in the form of Frankie Edgar. Despite some strong moments in the fight, Rodriguez was grounded and ultimately stopped by his experienced foe.
Now several weeks removed from this loss, Rodriguez spoke with BJPenn.com’s Chris Taylor about the fight. Apparently, losing this fight was his worst fear – though he is certain he will grow from the experience.
“All my fears came true that day because I lost,” he said. “It was the most important fight of my career, because I knew that fight was enough to put me right there for a title shot. So now that I went through that stuff, I look back and I see all the things that I’ve been through, and I notice some changes in my attitude and my training that I didn’t notice at the time, and nobody told me [about]. I thought that it was good, and I kept on going like that. It’s not a bad thing, it’s not like I stopped training or anything like that. I was actually going harder than normal. I just centered myself on being a fighter, on being an animal, and I totally lost energy. I forgot about everything else. I let small things bother me all the time.”
“You get experience, going through all this process,” he continued. “Now that I’ve learned from it, I think I’ll be good after it. I think I’m going to come back stronger. Things have changed a lot from that fight. I think it was something good.”
Rodriguez then elaborated that, while he has a hard time swallowing this loss, he believes it well help him evolve into a future champion.
“I truly believe that I can do it,” he said. “After the fight, whenever I went to the hospital to check my eye, I looked at my coach and I told him, ‘why does this happen to me,’ and I was crying. ‘Why does this happen to me? It’s the only thing that I do, coach. It’s the only thing that I do.’ And then my Mom and my Dad were there, and they were trying to hug me and stuff like that, and I told them ‘stop, I’m not supposed to lose.’ I give my all to this career and to this life and I’ve sacrificed a lot of things that a lot of people aren’t willing to do. You have to be willing to acknowledge this stuff.”
How do you think Yair Rodriguez will rebound from this loss to Frankie Edgar?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/25/2017.