Wearing shades over a heavily bandaged eye, Stephens got to the point in a Twitter video posted by ESPN.com.
“Yair, you think I’m faking, bro – you’re the one that poked me in the eye,” he said. “Let’s run it back (in) four or five weeks, two weeks, whatever. I’ll be ready.”
If his position wasn’t clear, Stephens ended the message: “Let’s run it back, motherf*cker.”
A request for comment to Stephens’ rep wasn’t immediately returned.
Just 15 seconds into the ESPN+ headliner, Rodriguez threw an inside leg kick and inadvertently raked Stephens’ eye. Referee Herb Dean gave Stephens five minutes to recover, but cageside doctors waved off the fight after Stephens couldn’t open his eye.
The Rodriguez-friendly crowd pelted the Octagon with garbage and targeted Stephens as he left the arena. Stephens could later be seen making a quick exit from Mexico City Arena.
Rodriguez didn’t question Stephens’ injury in a post-event media scrum backstage. Although he jumped the cage and appeared in the wake of the fight’s stoppage, he later said he was only trying to rally the crowd. He stressed that he deferred to Stephens on the severity of the injury.
On the subject of a rematch, Rodriguez said he would wait to hear from the UFC on what comes next in his career. He noted Stephens wasn’t his first pick to fight in the first place given the veteran’s lower ranking and toughness. But he didn’t explicitly rule out a second fight.
“I’m just going to wait to talk to the UFC and see what they’re thinking and just move on” Rodriguez said. “I don’t like that one at the end of my record, but whatever.”
For now, both Rodriguez and Stephens have a no-contest bookending their resumes.