There’s no love lost between Jeremy Stephens and Yair Rodriguez…
‘Lil Heathen’ is one of the toughest fighters on the UFC roster today. That’s just a fact. Some people are gifted athletes, but Jeremy Stephens is a born fighter. I know who I’d want on my side during the zombie apocalypse and it wouldn’t be Yair Rodriguez.
The two men were meant to fight in the UFC: Mexico main event. Well, technically they did for fifteen seconds before the fight was stopped after ‘Pantera’ grazed his opponent’s eyes with his fingernail. The final decision was a no-contest and the Mexican fans bombarded Stephens with beer. It was shambolic.
Now it’s emerged that the bad blood between Stephens and Rodriguez has got even worse. The two bumped into each other in a Mexico City hotel and had, well, a Mexican standoff.
Can’t recall ever seeing behavior like this from fans at a UFC event. Maybe I’m forgetting one, but not even in the early days. Gross. pic.twitter.com/12QqIl8hod
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) September 22, 2019
Fortunately, Stephens didn’t suffer a serious injury. He’s one of the toughest fighters on the roster, so if he says he’s compromised you better believe it. Basically, his eye should be fine in a couple of weeks, as long as he looks after it.
“Everything’s all right,” Stephens told MMA Fighting. “I’m going to the doctor later today to get this cleared and get (an) on-the-American-soil opinion and everything’s all good. It’s a little sore. I have a laceration, a small cut over both my eyes, but all in all nothing major, which is good.
“It’s one of them little freaky things. I’ve had my eye orbital broken in the Donald Cerrone fight, and that dude is a killer. Way more fierce than the karate kid (Yair Rodriguez), and it’s just one of those weird things, I can’t explain it. I’ve been in 50 fights, amateur and pro, and it’s one of those weird things. It just sucks.”
— Eric Gomez (@EricGomez86) September 22, 2019
Rodriguez hasn’t covered himself in glory. He questioned Stephens’s mentality and said that the American fighter is going to have to live with what happened. As you might expect, Stephens is not impressed. After all, he didn’t poke himself in the eye and he did spend a lot of money on that fight camp. The pair even had a clash in a hotel.
“At first he came up with a thumbs up, I thought he was going to come over and be cordial and say, “I’m sorry, and let’s run it back,’” Stephens explained to Michael Bisping. “But he comes up, shakes my hand and then immediately starts talking s—t. Where I come from, you don’t do that, bro. I shoved him back across the hotel and I saw that his sister was recording with her phone, thinking they’re going to catch some little glimpse, or him talking s—t to me.
“He got shoved and once he got shoved, he didn’t even take a step forward. His family didn’t do s—t either. I was about to smack him and his coaches and anybody who came at me, but they all immediately backed up.”
— NoOffenceMMA (@NoOffenceMMA) September 22, 2019
Since then, Rodriguez has been acting out and saying he doesn’t want a rematch. Stephens is behind him in the rankings and the rematch would be on American soil so it’s less attractive than the main event in Mexico.
“I guarantee you the kid doesn’t want it,” Stephens said about Rodriguez. “My bet money is that he doesn’t accept the fight, he b**ches out and runs. That’s what he does. You saw how he acted after the win. He’s celebrating like he won over an eye poke. Who does that? The kid was nervous all week. I was up in his head, I’m still in his head, and he can either accept the fight or get the f—k out of my way.
You know what Stephens is going to bring to a fight. He’s never been cut from the roster despite his losses. Rodriguez has for being a pain to deal with.