Yair Rodriguez is preparing for his toughest challenge in UFC 211 opponent and former champion Frankie Edgar. Few have been able to beat Edgar in the UFC and most who did were current or future champions. That is why a victory over Edgar will speak volumes about the young fighter's talent and future.
It's clear that the UFC has decided to push Rodriguez as a potential star, similar to UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, but a loss to Edgar can slow that momentum and set Rodriguez back.
It's a huge gamble, but one Rodriguez is willing to take.
Rodriguez feels that a win over Edgar at UFC 211 will not only propel him the MMA stardom but make him one of the biggest Mexican fighters in all of combat sports. He goes as far as predicting that he'll become a bigger star than Canelo Alvarez.
"It'll probably take one year — maybe less," said Rodriguez. "I'm going to get huge if they offer me a title shot soon. Having a Mexican, just imagine what will happen having a 100% Mexican fighting for a championship. Not just that but winning it — it's going to be huge for the Mexican market, Latin American market."
We applaud Rodriguez for his confidence but it'll take much longer than a year to catch Canelo in popularity. Canelo has been on a tear since suffering his first and only loss of his career to Floyd Mayweather. He also has the opportunity to stake his claim for #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world with a victory over Gennady "GGG" Golovkin in September.
A loss by Canelo could open the door for Rodriguez, but he'll have to live up to the hype and deliver by capturing a UFC championship.