UFC on ESPN+ 17 Preview

ufc-espn+17There are always times when athletes get tested and the true colours of an athlete only come out when they are tested.

Adversity truly shows what an athlete has as there is no success in most sports without some type of adversity.

In MMA that adversity is very common as there are not many fighters who go through an entire career just seeing success.

Most fighters struggle n their way up the rankings and have seen a few losses before they make the big leagues.

Even if they go unscathed in their amateur or lower pro levels they soon find out that they aren’t necessarily unbeatable.

That reality can hit some harder than others as they often have gone through every level of their athletic career as the best person in the room.

These athletes often start in some other sport where they are dominant in what they do and rarely experience losses.

When they start their time in this new sport they can often rely on the athleticism that got them through their previous sport.

That can take them far but eventually, they run into fighters who either match their athleticism or know how to trump that athleticism.

They then take a loss and have to figure out how to get back on track after losing their first fight ever.

It can be a challenge for some as things are easy when they are going right but when things go wrong it gets a lot harder.

Depending on how someone lost they might be gun shy on the ground or on the feet or they think that they gave their best but it wasn’t good enough.

That is the point when they mentally need to figure out how to overcome something that they never experienced.

It is what Yair Rodriguez is dealing with as he continues his comeback bid in front of a home crowd at UFC on ESPN+ 17.

Rodriguez was one of the top prospects in MMA as he rose through the rankings and entering the roster for The Ultimate Fighter Latin America.

He won that show and started an impressive run through the featherweight division finally giving the UFC a star from Mexico.

With such a rich tradition of fighting the UFC always wanted to enter the Mexican market and now they had the star to do it.

Except eventually, he was going to run into someone who was going to give him the challenge of his career.

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That person was Frankie Edgar who beat Rodriguez in what was supposed to be the true coming-out party for the young Mexican.

That loss sent Rodriguez into a strange time as he began demanding a better contract from the UFC as a free agent.

He was reported to be signed by Bellator but eventually did return to the UFC in what was a long drawn out absence.

He made his official return last November when he fought and beat Chan Sung Jung, showing that he still had what it took.

Now he takes on another veteran of the sport in Jeremy Stephens in what could be another signature fight.

Beating Stephens is sure to put him back on track towards the title but another loss won’t help him.

Although he won his first fight back after a long layoff he still has a lot to prove if he wants to gain that hype back.

This fight against a veteran like Stephens is that chance as it might not be Edgar but it is a name that people know and someone who has been fighting for a while.

Stephens is quickly becoming the guy that young stars have to beat in order to move up in the rankings and Rodriguez is the latest to attempt to do that while trying to gain back that status as a top prospect in the division.

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