Rodriguez picked up a TKO victory due to an injury to Brian Ortega in the main event of UFC Long Island earlier this month. With the unfortunate way the bout ended, most believed that a fight between Rodriguez and Emmett as either a title eliminator or an interim championship fight made perfect sense, especially with current champion Alexander Volkanovski dealing with a hand injury suffered in his UFC 276 win over Max Holloway.
Even UFC president Dana White expressed interest in the idea, however Rodriguez seems to have no interest at all.
“What is in my mind right now is fighting Alexander Volkanovski, and that’s always on my mind right now,” Rodriguez told reporters backstage at UFC 277.
“I’m waiting for him.”
Another reason why a fight between Rodriguez and Emmett — a winner of five straight, including a main event decision win over Calvin Kattar at UFC Austin in June — seems to make sense is Volkanovski’s interest in moving up to challenge for the lightweight title, specifically against the winner of the UFC 280 bout between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev for the vacant belt.
Even if Volkanovski is set to make the move up and put the top of the division on a pause, Rodriguez says he’s in no hurry.
“No, I’m going to wait for him [even if he moves up to lightweight],” Rodriguez said. “Hopefully he wins the [155-pound belt] so it will be a bigger accomplishment for me whenever I get to fight him, and beat him.
“Why [would I fight for an interim] when I’m knocking on the door for the title? It doesn’t make any sense.
“I’m not fighting Josh Emmett, I’m fighting Volkanovski.”