Rani Yahya

LINCOLN, NE - AUGUST 25: Rani Yahya of Brazil celebrates after his submission victory over Luke Sanders in their bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Pinnacle Bank Arena on August 25, 2018 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Rani Yahya, ‘I feel I’m better everywhere’ in matchup with Kyung Ho Kang at UFC Vegas 43

Veteran bantamweight Rani Yahya makes his 19th walk to the octagon at UFC Vegas 43 against Kyung Ho Kang. Yahya is confident he’ll be the better fighter in every aspect on Nov. 20 when they face off.

In this interview with Yahya, he details his upcoming matchup, where he ranks in terms of the best grapplers in the world, why opponents shouldn’t underestimate his striking, and more.

Yahya has realized a lot of success since signing to the UFC back in 2011. The 37-year-old has only lost four of his 18 bouts, while also never being finished. He’s very optimistic about his chances to come away victorious in the showdown with Kang.

Rani Yahya Interview

“I feel that I’m better than him everywhere,” he confirmed. “I’m more aggressive as a striker and my wrestling’s better too. He’s got good Judo and good timing for the takedowns, but the wrestling in general when we scramble he doesn’t seem to have a good balance to be on top. For me, once I get on top, the guy never escapes from the bottom. As a grappler, I’ve also got more submissions than him so I feel I am better than him everywhere.”

Yahya has built a reputation as being one of the best grapplers, not only at bantamweight but in the entire UFC. Currently, he owns seven submission victories inside the octagon, and he is tied with Uriah Faber for most all-time at bantamweight (6).

“I don’t really like saying I’m the best on the planet at something,” Yahya began, “But I’m definitely one of the best grapplers. Not only in the bantamweight division, but in our entire sport. Me and Uriah (Faber) are tied, but I also have a submission at featherweight. I prefer to say I’m one of the best grapplers because there are people who do a very good job like Charles Oliveira, Demian Maia, and Khabib.”

Don’t Underestimate His Striking

“Oh man I like when my opponents make this mistake,” Yahya replied, “Because they always get surprised. You can ask any opponent I had in the UFC about my striking and they all get surprised. The fights when I needed to strike, I struck very well. Of all my fights in the UFC, I can name one or two where my opponent had the striking advantage. Even then, it wasn’t a huge advantage. I’ve always had good weapons with my striking.”

Rani Yahya owns a second-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Athaide Junior. In addition to that, he possesses a black belt in muay Thai. Over the last decade-plus, Yahya’s game has evolved into what we see today.

“In that time until now I’ve changed so many things,” he said. “10 years have passed by and if we are the same person we were from 10 years ago it’s cause we are not evolving. So I believe I have evolved as an athlete and as a human being as well. With fighting, I can say I have more quality of training and less effort, more quality and less effort. I also of course feel a lot calmer when I fight, a lot more mature, and more experience.”

Make sure to watch Rani Yahya take on Kyung Ho Kang on Nov. 20 at UFC Vegas 43 from the APEX Center in Las Vegas.

If you enjoyed this interview, check back here for more exclusive conversations with the world’s greatest mixed martial artists.

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