“Don’t want to fight him, want to F**K him up!” Yair Rodriguez makes intentions clear about Ilia Topuria reacting to UFC 298 win

The intense rivalry between featherweights Ilia Topuria and Yair Rodriguez continues to grow after UFC 298.


“Don’t want to fight him, want to F**K him up!” Yair Rodriguez makes intentions clear about Ilia Topuria reacting to UFC 298 win

Yair Rodriguez has some words for Ilia Topuria (via Imago/X)

Rivalries are an exciting part of MMA. They create extensive hype around the fight and bring more eyes to the sport. Some examples of great rivalries include Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier and Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor. A new rivalry is brewing in the UFC featherweight division. This is between Yair Rodriguez and the newly minted champion Ilia Topuria.

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Rodriguez made his feelings about Ilia Topuria crystal clear in a recent media scrum. Rodriguez and Topuria have traded barbs on social media in recent months. But Rodriguez took his disdain to another level in response to Topuria’s title win against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 298. Rodriguez unleashed a profanity-laced tirade targeting Topuria while speaking to reporters before UFC Mexico. This is what he said:

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.
Yair Rodriguez at UFC Mexico Media Day

Rodriguez said he didn’t want to fight Ilia Topuria but wanted to hurt him physically. Rodriguez claimed he typically respected opponents. However, he revealed having personal animosity toward the new champion.

Topuria has clearly gotten under Rodriguez’s skin in a major way. Their rivalry has turned hostile, likely guaranteeing fireworks if they ever meet in the octagon. Rodriguez first has to get past Brian Ortega at the UFC Mexico event. The beef between the two suggests that fans would highly anticipate any matchup. 

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Ilia Topuria believes that Yair Rodriguez should retire

Ilia Topuria is not making many friends with his brash comments. Topuria infuriated many fighters, including top contender Yair Rodriguez. Topuria declared he would never grant them a title shot if he became champion.

Ilia Topuria claims that he will never give  Yair Rdriguez a title shot
Ilia Topuria claims that he will never give Yair Rodriguez a title shot (via BJ Penn)

Topuria made the bold statement in an interview before UFC 298. He argued that since Alexander Volkanovski defeated them, Topuria should bypass those contenders entirely. Per Topuria, Rodriguez and the other top featherweights might as well retire because he won’t grant them a championship fight. 

Topuria doubled down on his desire to face Conor McGregor next rather than the top contenders. He repeatedly angled for a McGregor bout in Spain. He saw it as a bigger payday and a chance to grow his profile. Rodriguez was always reserved and respectful of his opponents, but Topuria’s trash talk has changed that dynamic.

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