Mexican featherweight star Yair Rodriguez believes he can be bigger than Saul "Canelo" Alvarez ahead of his fight with Frankie Edgar at UFC 211.
Rodriguez, who has a 10-1 record in MMA but is undefeated in the UFC, is set to take on top contender Edgar on 13 May in Dallas, Texas in what is a huge bout for the featherweight division.
If "El Pantera" is able to defeat Edgar, it would catapult him into title shot contention and if successful, would give Mexico its first true star in MMA.
But for Rodriguez, he wants to go a step further as he thinks he can be even bigger than boxing champion Canelo, who improved his boxing record to 49-1-1 after a dominant win over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr on Saturday (6 May).
"I can be bigger (than Alvarez)," Rodriguez stated, as quoted on MMAMania. "Mexican people, they already have a lot of boxing stars. But they don't have an MMA star in Mexico. It's just me."
"I'm going to be that star. I'm already a star in Mexico, but I'm going to be even bigger than that, because I have all the Latin American market behind me, and part of the United States market. I have all these advantages.
"A lot of people from Brazil and Russia and Europe, they follow me; they send me messages and follow me. I feel blessed."
Despite having his first fight in the UFC in November 2014, the 24-year-old now finds himself in a very promising position as even a loss at his young age would not hurt against one of the best featherweights in the world in Edgar.
Rodriguez believes his quick progression is not luck but a product of his hard work.
"What is happening to me, this is not luck," he added. "I work hard every day — like, really, really hard. My coach is here; he would slap me in the face if I lied. Every single aspect of my game, I work on every f*****g day."
"I wake up thinking about it, I eat thinking of it, and I train thinking all my life is around just one thing, and that's to become the best fighter in the world. That's it."