Yair Rodriguez Defeated BJ Penn With an Injured Knee and a Poor Training Camp


The last time Yair Rodriguez spoke to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, he insisted that it didn’t matter if B.J. ‘The Prodigy’ Penn and his coach Greg Jackson knew his strategy at UFC Fight Night 103 — he would demolish the former UFC Lightweight and Welterweight Champion when they met inside the octagon in Phoenix.

‘El Pantera’ did just that on January 15, as he outclassed ‘The Prodigy’ in their featherweight bout, stopping a sluggish Penn via TKO in just under :30 seconds of the second round. Yair was faster, more powerful, more aggressive, younger, and mixed it up better than the 38-year-old Penn.

Outside of a few attempts at engaging midway through the first round, Penn looked defenseless.

Perhaps what was most impressive the 24-year-old’s dominance, is the fact the Yair Rodriguez went into the Penn fight with a knee injury — and was going to pull out of the bout until his coaches urged him not to.

“I couldn’t even walk. I was standing up on my bed in the morning, and I was falling because my knee was really bad,” said Rodriguez on The MMA Hour on Monday.

“I was ready to die, or to win that night.” - Yair Rodriguez on his UFC Fight Night 103 mindset

Rodriguez doesn’t think Penn is “washed up” necessarily, rather believes Penn should perhaps try his hand at another weight class, because he’s simply too big for featherweight.

“I think he needs to try other weight, you know? It’s hard. He’s a big 145.”

El Pantera is currently focused on healing his level 2 LCL injury, but he noted that he has a big goal he’s close to:

The 24-year-old will now set his sights on becoming the first ever Mexican born Champion in UFC history. Yair says he’s already big in Mexico, and believes he could headline Arena Ciudad de Mexico one day — the same Arena hosted the UFC 188 Heavyweight title bout between Mexican-American superstar Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum.

“I just don’t want to F**** this up!” Yair told Ariel Helwani on Monday.

Yair Rodriguez’s entire MMA Hour Appearance from January 23 can be seen below: