Yair Rodriguez never wanted to fight Brian Ortega, but can’t wait to ‘f*ck up’ Ilia Topuria

MEXICO CITY – Yair Rodriguez has typically been one of the most respectful fighters in the UFC, but there is one man on the roster who fills him with rage.

Rodriguez (18-4 MMA, 10-3 UFC) has his hands filled with a rematch against Brian Ortega in the co-feature of UFC Fight Night 237, but when asked about the current featherweight champion Ilia Topuria, Rodriguez began spewing expletives into the microphone.

“I would love to f*ck him up,” Rodriguez told MMA Junkie and other reporters at Wednesday’s media day. “I don’t want to fight him, I want to f*ck him up. There’s a f*cking big difference on that, just to make that clear. And anywhere I f*cking see him, I’ll f*ck him up.

“… F*ck this b*tch. I don’t f*cking like him.”

Topuria and Rodriguez have taken shots at each other in interviews and social media posts over recent months, which has caused tensions to boil over. As it stands today, Rodriguez doesn’t believe he would be able to control himself if he was in the same room with Topuria.

“I don’t normally get into this kind of situation with nobody, I’m really respectful,” Rodriguez said. “But this f*cking guy, you know, I just don’t really like him. I don’t like him. I don’t have to f*cking like him. I want to f*ck him up. That’s what I want to do.”

“El Pantera” may have the opportunity to settle his differences with “El Matador” inside the octagon, but first he has to get past Ortega (15-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) again in what he believes is a title eliminator fight.

The pair first met in the main event of UFC on ABC 2 in July 2022. The bout ended abruptly during a grappling exchange in the first round after Ortega suffered a shoulder injury.

Contrary to how he feels about Topuria, Rodriguez admits he never wanted to fight his friend Ortega the first time around and isn’t exactly thrilled to do so for a second time. However, sometimes in the fight game, friends must fight to reach the top of the division, and that’s the position that Rodriguez finds himself in again.

“It’s always weird. I never wanted to fight the guy,” Rodriguez said. “This time is no different. I like his family, I like him. He’s Mexican, so it’s not the same feeling. It’s a job we have to do. Not something that I really wanted to do.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 237.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie