Having reeled off three knockouts on the UFC stage, it’s easy to say Adrian Yanez has put the bantamweight division, and the UFC on notice. This past weekend at UFC Vegas 22, Yanez showed the complete package as he put together a complete performance en route to a third-round KO over Gustavo Lopez. With the win, Yanez has two wins officially inside the UFC Octagon and a win on Dana White’s Contender Series.
While Yanez is without a doubt turning heads, he’s doing so in a loaded bantamweight division that will see high-profiled and tough matchups even when facing unranked opponents. During an interview with On The Mic Podcast, Yanez told MyMMANews.com that he recognizes that depth of the bantamweight division, and being a part of such a young talented pool makes him excited.
“In history, there’s never been in the bantamweight division, this amount of fresh new faces that are killers,” Yanez said. “Right now that’s what it is for the bantamweight division, we have a whole bunch of killers, myself included that are fresh new faces and we’re all going to have fight each other. There’s no running around not being able to get a fight, you’re going to have fight all those guys. You’re going to see the leader of the pack taking off. It’s the perfect timing, especially me coming in.”
Adrian Yanez welcomes challenges, and he said so himself that he didn’t want to enter the UFC if the division wasn’t stacked with tough opponents who make it feel like he’s going through the toughest video game journey.
“In the bantamweight division, it’s going to be really hard to break into that Top-15 but that’s what excites me, the levels of toughness. Right now it’s like we’re in Mortal Kombat, we’re playing extremely hard so that’s to me what makes it exciting. If I go out there these next couple fights and have someone with a number next to their name and I starch them, that just proves to me that I belong in that top-15, that I should be fighting for a belt.
Each fight I want to progressively get better and make it look easier, that’s the biggest thing to me, to make it look easier every single time I go in there. I want to be the leader of the pack.”
Knowing that he’s in a stacked division, Yanez recognizes that a title shot won’t just be handed to him after a couple of wins and he told MyMMANews.com that he’s willing to take the long journey to the top if that’s what is necessary for him to get a deserved title shot.
“In my world hypothetically, going in there two, three fights going in there, I’m knocking everyone out, making it look easy, of course: title shot, title shot. But we do live in reality and I do know how long it took Tony Ferguson, Stipe Miocic, Max Holloway to get their title shot. All these guys and how long it took before they got their title shot. I know how hard it’s going to be to get a title shot. There’s two realities: you get the Conor McGregor shine right there or you get the slow long road where you have to fight tooth and nail to get there.
I’m telling everybody, I don’t mind taking the long road, I don’t mind climbing up that ladder one step at a time rather than jumping up two or three steps just jumping over people. I don’t mind either one. I’m looking forward to the long road one because I know it’s going to be a lot more satisifying whenever I get the belt. To me, if I take the long road and I get the belt, there’s going to be a lot more satisifcation. I’m not one of those guys who’s going to stop working.”
If Adrian Yanez continues to go out and do what he has done inside the Octagon during his first two official fights, and what he did to secure his UFC contract on Contender Series, he will certainly make a big jump into contention inside the bantamweight division, but he’s quite alright if it’s the long road he has to embark on.
The full video interview with Adrian Yanez can be found here.
Mike Pendleton is a current contributor to MyMMANews, BJPenn.com, and TheScrap.Co while also hosting his “On The Mic” podcast and works as an Associate Producer on Sirius XM’s Fight Nation channel.
With a special passion for interviewing and talking to some of the very best around the fight game, you can read or listen to Mike’s work across his multiple outlets.
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