clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Yair Rodriguez’s post-fight message to disappointed Josh Emmett: ‘Stop that thinking that you have right now’

Almost the second Yair Rodriguez submitted Josh Emmett at UFC 284, he was consoling his opponent.

Rodriguez revealed his post-fight words to Emmett after his second-round triangle earned him the interim UFC featherweight title, and he said his message was meant to motivate Emmett.

“This is a really important moment for us, and when I finished the triangle, I could see in his expression the desperation of like, ‘F***, I lost,’” Rodriguez explained after Saturday’s pay-per-view event in Perth, Australia. “It’s like he saw his opportunity go away, but I just wanted to say to him, ‘No.’ I told him, ‘No, No. Hey, no. Stop that thinking that you have right now. You’re a warrior. You will overcome this. You got this.’

“So the only thing I could say to him was, ‘You’re a warrior, brother.’ We find a way to stand up every time we fall to the ground. So I am sure he will do that, and stay strong, and I’m sure we’ll see each other in the future. So stay strong brother.”

Rodriguez put on a masterful display of martial arts, surprising Emmett with a series of bruising kicks to the body and showing his toughness after rebounding from a first-round knockdown. It was Emmett’s first loss in his past six outings.

The win made it two in a row for Rodriguez after a decision setback to ex-champ Max Holloway, which temporarily brought to a halt his campaign to win a featherweight title.

As Rodriguez explained at the press conference, it was only because he’d encountered several setbacks on his UFC journey that he was able to speak from experience to Emmett.

“Those are like the demons that you have to fight every single day of your life, the what-ifs,” he said. “What if I can’t, what if I don’t, what if this happens? Some of those things never become true, so the only thing you can do is live your life the best way possible, avoiding the most mistakes you can, and do the best you can. And stop thinking that. With that said, I’ve been learning to fight my demons every single day and winning over them.”

Now, Rodriguez moves on to his next challenge, a fight with undisputed featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski, who left RAC Arena feeling the sting of his own setback, a loss to lightweight champ Islam Makhachev.

Asked whether he thought Volkanovski might be diminished by his recent fortune, Rodriguez gave Volkanovski the benefit of the doubt.

“Bro, he’s fighting for the 155-pound division [title] against Islam Makhachev — he’s not fighting a nobody,” Rodriguez said. “Islam is tough. We’ve seen the Russian guys fighting in this company, they’re super tough, and he was able to go in there and demostrate that he’s capable of also winning, because the fight was pretty close.

“I think he did a pretty good job. I just think the fight between he and I will be as it has to be. He will be there 100 percent — I don’t see why not — and I’ll be there 100 percent.”

When Rodriguez gets in the cage with Vokanovski, he expects he won’t need the submission skills he used against Emmett.

“I think he’s quick, I think he’s explosive and has pretty good wrestling and jiu-jitsu defense,” he said. “So I think the fight between he and I will stay standing up. It will be more of a striking fight. Everything comes down to who does a better strategy and who’s able to maintain the strategy that’s working and adjust when it’s not working.”

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting