Yair Rodriguez is coming off of a second round knockout victory over former UFC Welterweight Champion and former UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn at UFC Fight Night 103.
Rodriguez, the #8 ranked featherweight in the UFC right now, thinks the win over the former dual champion puts him in range for a title shot.
“Anyone at the top of the division is going to be the same,” he said to USA Today. “They have pretty similar styles, the top five in my division. I think I’m one fight away from fighting for the title if I win my next fight. That’s what I’m looking to do. I think it’s realistic for 2017. You just have to hope the UFC wants to push me. But whatever comes, I’ll take it.”
Penn is arguably the biggest “name” fighter that Rodriguez has defeated in his eleven fight professional MMA career.
“After the fight, some people thought I overreacted because I won,” Rodriguez said. “But the fight wasn’t just against B.J. Penn. It was against all the people. The UFC was expecting me to do that – I’m supposed to win against a legend. But it was a lose-lose fight for me. If I win, I won against an old guy, people say … I’m not a star, I’m just a joke. I won against an old guy. … I was in a pretty bad position. But I went there to perform.”
Outside of BJ Penn, Rodriguez also holds victories in the UFC over Charles Rosa, Andre Fili, Dan Hooker and Alex Caceres.