Jeremy Stephens has gotten his wish.
After an inadvertent eyepoke ended UFC Mexico’s headliner between Stephens and Yair Rodriguez, the featherweights have been scheduled to face off again at UFC Boston, which takes place Oct. 18 at TD Garden. The rematch will serve as the co-main event.
The news was confirmed to MMAFighting by people with knowledge of the rescheduled fight after an initial report from UFC broadcast partner ESPN.com. The people requested anonymity because the news hasn’t officially been announced.
Stephens repeatedly requested a rematch in interviews following the botched fight, which took place this past Saturday at Mexico City Arena. He and Rodriguez nearly came to blows at the fighter hotel, exchanging insults and a homophobic slur.
Rodriguez initially expressed sympathy for Stephens, but he also questioned whether the injury was serious enough to warrant a stoppage. After Stephens pushed him during their hotel confrontation, he accused his opponent of seeking the easy way out.
After the no-contest, which brought an ugly response from the crowd at Mexico City Arena, Rodriguez said he hadn’t been keen on fighting Stephens in the first place and deferred to the UFC on his next move. He later told ESPN.com he would apologize if he was proven wrong about the severity of Stephens’ injury.
Stephens downplayed his injury in an interview with MMAFighting and blasted Rodriguez, doubting the Mexican star would accept a rematch.
The injury occurred after Rodriguez and Stephens had squared off. Rodriguez threw a leg kick and raked Stephens’ eyes by extending his arm. Stephens immediately pulled back and said he couldn’t open his left eye; referee Herb Dean said the eye was spasming and called in cageside doctors.
After a five-minute rest, the maximum break allowed for an eyepoke, Dean ruled Rodriguez’s actions unintentional and declared a no-contest just 15 seconds into the bout.
Stephens suffered a corneal abrasion and needed a doctor’s clearance to nix a 180-day suspension, according to medical suspensions issued after UFC Mexico.