Editor’s note: This story was published after Yair Rodriguez’s victory over Jang Sung Jung. Rodriguez’s next fight will take place on July 16, 2022 against Brian Ortega.

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Yair Rodriguez delivered what some consider the greatest knockout in UFC history on Saturday night in Denver, defeating Jang Sung Jung, better known as the “Korean Zombie”, with a vicious elbow to the chin with one second left. fourth fight. The jaws of the spectators inside the Pepsi Center and at home dropped at the same time as the finishing move appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

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Rodriguez joined The Ariel Helwani MMA Show on Sportzshala just two days after the epic fight to update his health and provide details on how things went this weekend.


Before the fight

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The last couple of weeks have been pretty tough for me. I couldn’t even finish one round when I trained in Cowboy. [Cerrone’s] ranch. My stomach felt bad. My head was spinning. I was very, very sick, but I pushed my mind through knowing that I could do it. When I want to do something, nothing can stop me.

I didn’t want to say anything before the fight because if something happens to my health and I can’t fight, it will be another big blow to me and my career. Especially since I’ve been away for the past 18 months. I have dealt with some health issues. I had a cyst on my liver, they told me. I went to the hospital on the first day of this month. On November 1, I was severely dehydrated and my kidneys were failing. High blood pressure. I didn’t know what was going on. I think it was something I ate in Mexico. I lost 10 pounds in five days without even trying. It was very difficult for me to gain weight. This fight was more of a fight with yourself than a Korean zombie.


Finish setting

I felt pretty bad after the first round, but body language is very important in this sport. I tried to keep my composure; I tried to keep moving forward. But I couldn’t move too much. I tried to look more into the center of the octagon. I tried to hold back the blows. The Korean zombie is what it is. He also landed some good shots. He broke my nose.

Every time I hit him, he would come back to me with two or three hits. He tried to resist me. I threw five cubits back, looking for a special moment. I tried to get him to come to me. Pretend and make him react. I couldn’t understand it until I finally saw that moment at the end.

Ninety percent of communication is body language. The other 10 percent is what we say. When I raised my hands, it was, “OK, what do you want to do? 10 seconds left – what do you want to do? stay? What do you want to do?” He said, “Okay, let’s do this shit.”


Elbow

Nobody taught me [how to throw that elbow]. That was what I saw Cowboy do from behind [while warming up] and I started to practice it.

We knew it [Korean Zombie] a lot of things are revealed by blows. It always comes with hooks, hooks, hooks, and sometimes it comes out from within. I knew that if I could get him to come up to me and go under him, even with a middle punch, with a middle punch, with a flying knee, I knew it would be there.

The last second was perfect. Impulse, everything was perfect. I made him react the way I wanted him to react that way for the whole fight. Sometimes, when I wanted him to react like that, he acted too aggressively, and I could not resist him. Whenever you think it’s over, you give up and that’s what happens.

I could not believe it. I thought, “Holy crap.” I knew it was within a five-minute round, but at the same time, I thought, “Did I really hit him at the last second? Wow. I recieved it”. I looked in my corner and they were very happy. The referee raised his hands and said the fight was over.

I haven’t seen this yet so I guess [it’s the best knockout ever].


After battle

It was the best fight of my life for many reasons. Last year I experienced many losses. One of them was my grandfather and the other was my taekwondo instructor when I was a child. He died of cancer. This fight was for them. For all those people who are fighting cancer or any other disease.

Sometimes we think we are warriors, but [not compared] for those who are battling illness. This fight was for them. They are going through hard times. I tried to put it into my mind. It was for my grandfather, my family, my friends and especially me.

It’s a rough sport. Everything can happen at any moment. It could be me. This time it was him. You always have to be ready for whatever comes. It doesn’t matter if it’s a loss or a win. You must be able to take in the flavors of life. Sometimes sour, sometimes sweet. We try both flavors. Now I taste the sweetness of victory. He probably tastes sour.

The last 18 months have been very difficult. This is one of the things I have learned the most. The most important thing about that fight is that I went into it happy. I went there relaxed, enjoying every moment.

When I was talking to the Korean Zombie at the hospital, I said, “I just want to say that I give you all my respect.” We’re not in a street fight. I used to fight a lot on the street, but this is a sport. Korean Zombie is a great epitome of a professional. I told him that I hope he gets better soon. He told me, “It’s time to heal. Come home, keep training and get better.”