Despite the bad blood between them heading into the fight, Yair Rodriguez had nothing but praise for Jeremy Stephens after spending 15 minutes in the Octagon with him.
After their first fight ended in just 15 seconds due to an eye poke, Rodriguez and Stephens quickly turned from respectful opponents to bitter rivals.
That led to a ‘Fight of the Night’ performance this past Friday as Rodriguez earned a unanimous decision victory against Stephens in a back and forth war at UFC on ESPN 6. Afterwards, Rodriguez was taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons, which meant he didn’t get to address his latest victory.
Rodriguez instead turned to Instagram to pay homage to Stephens on a job well done as they put their rivalry behind them after embracing at the end of the fight.
“My respects for this warrior who, despite all that happened before this fight at the end, showed respect and that this is only part of the “business” business,” Rodriguez wrote.
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Cuento con un gran equipo, sobran las palabras para expresar tanto agradecimiento, no solo a mis entrenadores si no también a mis amigos y a mi familia por siempre estar conmigo. A pesar de todo lo amarga que pueda llegar a ser una experiencia, siempre buscamos el lado positivo de las cosas y mejoramos como seres humanos. Había cuenta pendiente en contra de un gran rival, sabía que sería una prueba dura en mi carrera pero me siento agradecido y bendecido por Dios por la oportunidad de salir con la victoria. Enfocado y mejorando día con día, estoy seguro que llegaré a lo más alto en este mundo. Voy con todo y por todo pero no voy solo.. . CUENTO CON UN GRAN EQUIPO! . Mis respetos para este guerrero que a pesar de todo lo qué pasó antes de esta pelea al final se demostró el respeto y que esto solo parte del “business” negocio. . Yo solo busco enfrentar a lo mejor de lo mejor en la división y espero que el @ufc después de 9 peleas para ellos, dentro de las cuales 8 son victorias, 7 bonos por peleas y actuaciones de la noche, me den la oportunidad de pelear pronto por un título mundial. . I have a great team, there are plenty of words to express such gratitude, not only to my coaches but also to my friends and my family for always being with me. Despite all the bitterness that can become an experience, we always look for the positive side of things and improve as human beings. I had a pending account against a great rival, I knew it would be a hard test in my career but I feel grateful and blessed by God for the opportunity to win this victory. Focused and improving day by day, I am sure that I will reach the top in this world. I go with everything and everything but I do not go alone .. . I HAVE A GREAT TEAM! . My respects for this warrior who, despite all that happened before this fight at the end, showed respect and that this is only part of the "business" business. . I only seek to face the best of the best in the division and I hope that the @ufc after 9 fights for them, within which 8 are victories, 7 bonuses for fights and performances of the night, give me the opportunity to fight Soon for a world title.
The win marked a second straight for Rodriguez, who pulled off one of the most improbable knockouts in his previous fight against “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung last November.
Overall, Rodriguez is now 8-1 with one no contest in the UFC including seven post fight bonuses over the course of his career.
He hopes all of those accolades will lead him to a featherweight title shot in the near future as he obviously keeps an eye on the upcoming fight between reigning champion Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski, scheduled for UFC 245 in December.
“I only seek to face the best of the best in the division,” Rodriguez wrote. “I hope that the UFC after nine fights for them, within which eight are victories, seven bonuses for fights and performances of the night, give me the opportunity to fight soon for a world title.”
While there’s no guarantee a title shot awaits him, Rodriguez definitely climbed into that conversation following his latest win over Stephens.