Yair Rodriguez has won five straight fights since he joined the UFC, and is widely considered to be one of the top prospects in the game, so it’s not surprising to see “Pantera” isn’t short on confidence.
The 24 year-old featherweight has been booked to face the legendary BJ Penn at UFC Fight Night 103, which will go down on January 15th in Phoenix. Penn represents the biggest name Rodriguez has fought to date, by far, and a win could deliver him a bout with a top five ranked opponent. Currently Rodriguez is ranked #10.
Recently the Mexican fighter spoke with MMA Junkie, and while doing so, Rodriguez said this:
“I’m a champion,” Rodriguez said. “Since I was a kid, I knew I was a champion. I know I’m different.
“I’m a different kind of animal. All the people around me know that. I know that.”
While it remains to be seen if Rodriguez can secure UFC gold at some point, there’s no denying he’s showcased some pretty special skills. Just ask Andre Fili, who Rodriguez KO’d with a flying head kick.
The rising fighter also noted in the aforementioned interview that he did not ask the UFC to fight Penn. According to Rodriguez, the promotion approached him about facing the legend, and he agreed.
UFC FN 103 will mark the first time the 38 year-old Penn has fought since 2014, when he was stopped by Frankie Edgar.