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After their anticipated featherweight bout ended in a disappointing no contest in just 15 seconds due to an accidental eye poke from Rodriguez (11-2 MMA, 7-1 UFC) to Stephens (28-16 MMA, 15-15 UFC), the consensus opinion seems to point to a rematch.
But Rodriguez doesn’t seem all that excited about it, though.
“Pantera” said he was never very interested in fighting Stephens to begin with, given the fact he doesn’t feel it’s a fight that elevates him much up the 145-pound rankings. And after the contest unfolded, his opinion hasn’t changed.
“Jeremy Stephens wasn’t the first on my mind to fight because he’s behind me in the rankings, and because he’s really tough,” Rodriguez told reporters, including MMA Junkie, post-fight at UFC on ESPN+ 17. “He’s a really, really tough guy. But basically, it’s the numbers. He’s behind me in the rankings. I was looking for something else. I openly said it since before this happened. Right now, I don’t know. I’m just going to wait and talk to the UFC again and see what they’re thinking and just move on.”
Rodriguez indicated that he would ultimately do whatever his team and the UFC brass decide is best following the anticlimactic ending at Mexico City Arena.
Stephens, meanwhile, minced no words about what he wants next. According to the longtime UFC fighter, the damage to his eye is just a “deep scratch” and not extremely significant. He said he’s ready to get back to fighting as soon as possible, and he wants the UFC to book a rematch in short order.
“Let’s run it back,” Stephens said. “Four or five weeks. Two weeks. Whatever. I’ll be ready. Let’s run it back mother(expletive).”
News | MMA Junkie