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Yair Rodriguez prefers Alexander Volkanovski next, but open to interim title fight with Josh Emmett: ‘That’s pretty good’

Yair Rodriguez isn’t demanding a title shot next, but he certainly wouldn’t say no if one was offered.

Rodriguez won in a strange manner on Saturday at UFC Long Island when Brian Ortega dislocated his shoulder in the first round during a grappling exchange. Heading into the bout, Rodriguez revealed he was promised a title shot with a victory, but given the unfortunate circumstances surrounding this win, “El Pantera” knows that is far from guaranteed now. He’s happy to play the good soldier for the UFC and do whatever is asked of him.

“We’ll have to see,” Rodriguez said at his post fight press conference. “I want to talk to the UFC first. I want to travel to Vegas and talk to the big bosses and see what they want to do, what they want me to do. They’re being really helpful to me. I’m just happy to be in this company. I’m super happy to work for them. Whatever they want me to do, I’m just going to wait and see where everything goes with injuries and stuff. For now, I don’t want to think too much about that. I just want to enjoy time with my friends and family.”

Fortunately for Rodriguez, a title fight may still be next for him.

Following UFC Long Island, UFC president Dana White said the promotion was open to the idea of an interim title fight between Rodriguez and Josh Emmett while featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski remains sidelined with a hand injury that could require surgery. And that’s obviously music to Rodriguez’s ears.

“Wow, that’s pretty good,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t know what to say to that. Whatever they want to do, I’m willing to do whatever they want to do. The ideal fight would be Volkanovski, but he’s out. So I guess whatever Dana says.”

Of course, one man who that is particularly rough for is Ortega. The two-time featherweight title challenger called for a rematch with Rodriguez in his post-fight interview, whenever he was healed up, but with Ortega potentially facing another shoulder surgery, that could be an extended time period.

Rodriguez said he’ll be waiting for Ortega though, regardless of how long it takes for “T-City” to make it back to the cage — and by then, he plans do be doing so with 12 pounds of gold wrapped around his waist.

“I told him right after the fight, ‘Hey, don’t worry about it. You’re fine, you’ll be fine,’” Rodriguez said. “‘I’m sure we’re going to meet up in the future. We can run it again, you just get healthy. But I want to tell you this, I’d rather do it for the championship instead of being in a situation like this. If you and I are going to fight again, hopefully we fight for the title.’”

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