UFC Boston co-headliner Jeremy Stephens made the rounds earlier this week when he promised to ‘kill’ Yair Rodriguez in their highly anticipated rematch at TD Garden.
“I’m gonna kill this kid. If he don’t die, it don’t count,” Stephens told reporters at Tuesday’s open workouts.
Rodriguez soon got word of Stephens’ comments and, rather than respond in kind, the 27-year-old wished ‘Lil Heathen’ the best of luck in overcoming his mental demons.
“Everybody has their own battles to deal with. If he thinks that way, then God bless him because he’s in deep shit right here,” Rodriguez said at UFC on ESPN 6 pre-fight media scrum, while pointing to his head (h/t MMA Mania’s Adam Guillen Jr.).
“I think he already has a lot of problems in his life, stuff that he has to deal with and I don’t really want to keep on pushing too much into his head. I want him fresh for this fight. He is a tough opponent, and I don’t want him to be weak and this is showing me that he is weak. I want him fresh.”
Rodriguez and Stephens fought to a No Contest (NC) last month at UFC Mexico, as Stephens was unable to continue after being hit with an accidental eye poke at 0:15 of the opening round. Both men got into a minor post-fight scuffle at the fighter’s hotel, with ‘El Pantera’ accusing Stephens of looking for an easy way out of the fight.
UFC on ESPN 6, which features Rodriguez vs. Stephens as the co-main event, takes place this Friday, Oct. 18 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.