Ilia Topuria fires back at Yair Rodriguez: ‘They don’t use me as a rag in the fights’

Things are starting to heat up between Ilia Topuria and Yair Rodriguez.

Rodriguez recently took aim at Topuria’s resume by saying he talked his way into a title shot. Topuria (14-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) challenges featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski (26-3 MMA, 13-2 UFC) in the UFC 298 headliner Feb. 17 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

Coming off back-to-back wins over Bryce Mitchell and Josh Emmett, undefeated Topuria has looked dominant in the octagon so far. Topuria mocked Rodriguez’s recent fights, suggesting he got lucky in a few of them.

“They have not been giving me big fights because I’ve been talking, but because I have been winning, which is something that differentiates him and me,” Topuria said in an interview with KOlmenero. “I don’t win fights because my opponent’s (Ortega) shoulder pops out. I don’t win because they beat me up, and in the fifth round he (Jung) took an elbow that I don’t even know where it came from. They don’t use me as a rag in the fights.”

Topuria has made some bold statements, going as far as saying five-time defending champion Volkanovski will be one of the easiest fight of his career. But the 27-year-old Spaniard insists it’s his performances that have been doing the talking.

“What do you mean I talk? Let him talk, and he will see that he will not get anything,” Topuria continued. “If he is going to see this, a piece of advice for him: Let him start winning, and he will start receiving things. Talking doesn’t get you anything. What you have to do is to win, which is something that is hard to do.”

Rodriguez (16-4 MMA, 10-3 UFC) runs things back with Brian Ortega (15-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) in a UFC Fight Night co-headliner Feb. 24 in Mexico City.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 298.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie