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UFC cuts one of its top featherweights for rejecting fights with two ranked opponents

“He can go somewhere else. We have no use for him,” Dana White said of Yair Rodriguez.

UFC featherweight Yair Rodriguez.
UFC featherweight Yair Rodriguez.
Image: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

ALMOST A YEAR to the day since he took on a former champion on the main card of a pay-per-view event, Yair Rodriguez (10-2) has been axed from the UFC.

Despite establishing himself as one of the top prospects in the 145-pound division since winning a season of The Ultimate Fighter in November 2014, 11th-ranked Rodriguez has been shown the door by MMA’s leading organisation.

UFC president Dana White told the LA Times that they ran out of patience with the 25-year-old Mexican after he turned down proposed bouts against former title challenger Ricardo Lamas and 13th-ranked Zabit Magomedsharipov.

“The guy’s off a year, rejects a fight with Lamas [ranked seventh] and then doesn’t want to fight a guy [Magomedsharipov] below him in the rankings?” White said. “He can go somewhere else. We have no use for him.”

With a spectacular striking arsenal, Rodriguez earned many admirers as he won his first six bouts under the UFC banner, a run which included stoppages of Andre Fili and BJ Penn.

His most recent outing — at UFC 211 on 13 May, 2017 — ended in defeat to former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar when the fight was stopped by the doctor at the end of the second round due to severe swelling around Rodriguez’s left eye.

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Paul Dollery

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