You don’t have to be a cynic to believe that Yair Rodriquez vs. Frankie Edgar is a fight the UFC hopes is not won by the guy from New Jersey. With the formal retirement of Brock Lesnar, the informal retirement of Ronda Rousey, and Conor McGregor interested solely in boxing Floyd Mayweather, the league is desperate for a new star.
Yair Rodriguez could be that next big thing. The way to find out is seeing if he can take a durable wrestler. Enter Frankie Edgar. However, ranked #2 at featherweight, a win over the #7 Yair leaves Edgar ranked #2 at featherweight. For Rodriguez, it could be the beginning of everything. Edgar knows it.
“I’d be stupid not to see the picture they’re painting here a little bit,” said Edgar during a recent appearance on The Anik and Florian Podcast, as transcribed by Jed Meshew for MMA Fighting. “Yair’s kind of in a win-win situation I think. He beats me, that’s great for him, it’s good for the UFC to push a prospect. But if he loses, he wasn’t supposed to win, kind of situation. For me, a lot’s on the line.”
“I wanted to fight May 13th. I know [#3 ranked Ricardo] Lamas reached out to me on Twitter a couple of times. I was cool with that fight but the UFC looked like they wanted to go in a different direction. They suggested Yair, and I’m pretty easy so I said, ‘Let’s do it. May 13th sounds pretty good to me.’”
“If it’s any indicator in the buzz I’m getting, I’m definitely getting a lot of buzz. This fight seems like a pretty big fight. People are interested in seeing Yair and testing him against someone like myself. So yeah, the buzz has been great with the media and my social network so maybe it is the bigger fight. To me it doesn’t matter. I’ve still got to show up on May 13th and get the job done.”