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The evolution of mixed martial arts has taken the sport to every corner of the globe and Mexico is primed for a breakout year. Yair Rodriguez could cement himself as the country's second UFC champion in as many pay-per-views by defeating Josh Emmett at UFC 284. The two battle in the co-main event on Saturday for the interim featherweight crown.

Brandon Moreno became Mexico's first UFC champion when he defeated Deiveson Figueiredo for the flyweight title in June 2021. Moreno's success invigorated Mexico's MMA scene, laying a new foundation adjacent to the country's rich history of boxing. Moreno recently recaptured the flyweight title from Figueiredo at UFC 283. Rodriguez sources strength from his close friend Moreno as he looks to join him at the table of champions, albeit with the caveat of fighting for an interim title.

"I take a lot of inspiration," Rodriguez told CBS Sports. "I saw him go through really hard moments in his career and his life. I'm sure he deserves this 100%. He's proof of whenever you put all your effort into whatever you want, regardless of what you do, it's going to be there one day. You have to keep dreaming and believing that you can do it and eventually things will happen."

Check out the full interview with Yair Rodriguez below.

Moreno is spearheading what may be a banner year for fighters representing Mexico. Rodriguez and Alexa Grasso are scheduled to fight for UFC championships. Meanwhile, Irene Aldana is on the verge of a women's bantamweight title shot. Plus, Moreno's next title challenger appears most likely to be fellow Mexican Alexandre Pantoja. There's a possibility that Mexico could quadruple its world champions by the end of 2023.

"It'll be like a dream come true. It's good thinking about it," Rodriguez said. "I visualize myself with the belt and I visualize my friends with the belts. I saw a post yesterday that said, 'Who would have thought these four would be champions in 2023,' talking about Islam Makhachev and Brandon Moreno and other fighters. What are the odds for us four fighters to become champions? I think they're really high. I'm going to be ready for that."

Rodriguez's desire to see his fellow countrymen and women excel is at the heart of Mexico's proud and, according to Rodriguez, sometimes intense sports culture.

"We have a lot of love. It's like a toxic relationship," Rodriguez said with a laugh. "There is a lot of hate, but there is also a lot of love. People love their sportsmen so much. When they do badly and people know they can do better, they get mad because they know the abilities and the capacity of our athletes. Whenever they don't do really well, they get mad. But when they perform well, they express it."