Yair Rodriguez will do whatever it takes to settle the score with Zabit Magomedsharipov.
"Pantera" Rodriguez (13-2) outlined his plans to step back into the octagon having served a six-month USADA suspension for missing three drugs tests in the space of a year.
In his first fight since he defeated one-time UFC title challenger Jeremy Stephens via unanimous decision in October 2019, Rodriguez was due to fight Magomedsharipov in a featherweight bout at UFC Fight Night 175 in August 2020 but withdrew a few days before the fight because of an ankle injury.
A former Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB) featherweight champion, Magomedsharipov (18-1) hasn't fought since November 2019.
The 30-year-old Magomedsharipov has a number of impressive wins on his record, including victories over Calvin Kattar, Kyle Bochniak and Sheymon Moraes.
But Rodriguez - who is currently training with Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone in New Mexico - has reiterated his desire to face the Russian.
"Just to be clear, he was talking a lot of c***, saying that I didn’t want to fight him, that I was faking injuries and stuff like that," Rodriguez said to ESPN. "Nobody does that. We’re all here to fight anybody at any point, and I’m sure I’ll fight him at some point, no matter what. This is a fight that has to happen. I’m f****** dying to fight him with all the crap he’s talking about. His moment will come when it has to come."
However, he has also made it clear that he is willing to fight just about anyone in order to shake off any lingering ring rust after a near two-year hiatus from cage fighting.
"I would like to fight as soon as possible, to be honest," he added. "As I’ve been getting ready to fight – I don’t have anything in specific right now.
"I don’t have a specific date that I’m scheduled to fight or any name as for now, but I think I’ll have some more information in the next week or two, but I can’t wait to compete. Probably July 17 will be a nice date for me, and I’m just getting prepared and ready for whatever comes."
He continued: "In an ideal scenario, I would like to face the champion, right? Because that’s the fight that everybody wants. But from there, going back in the rankings, I would take it as they come. I want the champion. If not, the No.1, if not, the No. 2, if not, No. 3. At this point, it doesn’t matter who I fight. Winning my fight would mean fighting for a title next. So, to be honest, I’m here to fight anybody.”News Now - Sport News