Often in life, whether it be in work or in sports, the young and talented are brought in to replace the older veterans who simply won’t walk away from their respective work. The UFC is no different when it comes to this strategy. The organization brings in young rising stars to face fighters who have experience and a name that resonates with audiences. These veterans might be used to propel the next young star to bigger things.
The last time we saw Yair Rodriguez in the UFC, he made quick work of legend B.J. Penn, who had returned to the Octagon after a three-year layoff. Rodriguez not only embarrassed Penn in the legend’s comeback fight, but he also made it known that he’s the next rising star of the UFC’s featherweight division.
The win sent a statement to the featherweight division. It also launched Rodriguez up the rankings and earned him a fight with yet another big name: Frankie Edgar. Edgar will face Rodriguez at UFC 211 in Dallas, but it may not be the best match-up the UFC could have given Rodriguez.
“The Answer” shouldn’t be tabbed as the guy to help put Rodriguez over the top. Edgar’s fighting style and relentlessness inside the cage won’t allow him to put anyone over the top. The former UFC champ has never been without a fighting chance in a bout, win or lose.
Edgar has never been finished in his career. If that’s what the UFC and Rodriguez were hoping for when they agreed on this fight, it might be a long night for both parties. Rodriguez has a unique and fast-paced style that could finish the fight at any moment, but it’ll be tough to put out the man who never gets put out.
This is just one way to look at this great fight in the featherweight division. Regardless, it certainly shouldn’t be seen as a one-sided match-up. Edgar fought for the interim belt against José Aldo at UFC 200 and lost a unanimous decision, but he bounced back with his own unanimous decision victory at UFC 205 over Jeremy Stephens.
As Aldo prepares for a unifying title fight against interim champion Max Holloway, the fight between Edgar and Rodriguez could have its own title implications. This is where the focus should stand on this fight. Rodriguez is without a doubt a rising star in the featherweight division, but Edgar has always stood his ground. If there are some people looking for the young fighter to come take out the old fighter, “The Answer” isn’t the match-up they’re looking for.