This weekend’s (Sat., July 16, 2022) UFC Long Island’s main event could be providing us with the next Featherweight title challenger, according to Yair Rodriguez.

Set to battle Brian Ortega, a win for either man will get them back in the win column after each tasting defeat against both men recently involved in the last title tilt. Regardless, Rodriguez said on The MMA Hour today (Mon., July 11, 2022) that a title shot against the champion, Alexander Volkanovski, awaits him with a win.

“Yes, that has been said to me,” Rodriguez said. “Yeah, that’s what we’re looking for.

“First things first, I’m going to win this fight and then give the champ some time to heal and yeah, go for it. For now, let’s take it step by step, first things first, July 16, Brian Ortega, that’s for now.”

If Rodriguez’s claims end up being true and he — or Ortega — go on to face Volkanovski, the most upset party will certainly be No. 3-ranked Josh Emmett, who defeated Calvin Kattar via split decision at UFC Austin last month, extending his win streak to five (watch highlights).

For Rodriguez, the always-entertaining striker last fought against the recent title challenger and former champion, Max Holloway. The Hawaiian suffered defeat via unanimous decision in his trilogy bout against Volkanovski at UFC 276 earlier this month (watch highlights) and “El Pantera” couldn’t have been more impressed by his potential foe.

“S—t wow — wow, that’s all I can say,” Rodriguez said. “He looked amazing. It was eye-opening for me. I better get ready for that if I want to be the champion. If I want to be the champion, I’m going to have to do some work, because he’s tough. He’s really tough.

“On his last fights before [the win over Holloway], he didn’t look that [good],” he concluded. “This fight, he looked so quick, explosive, smart, the strategy was [good], everything. He showed why he’s the champion.”


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This story originally Appeared on MMAmania