Petr Yan Interview: The Next Great Bantamweight Champion

 

Every MMA fighter starts somewhere, even Petr Yan. His story is quite appropriate. It’s obvious Yan is a natural in mixed martial arts. His career started off utilizing his natural abilities. In the sixth grade, Yan started training boxing. He trained for eight years and earned the Master of Sport ranking in boxing, a Russian ranking system for athletes.

“I had my first pro MMA fight only after 2 weeks of MMA training. I fought master of sport in sambo and we had rules where headbutts were allowed. After spending most of the first 2 rounds on my back I managed to knock him out in the 3rd. I fell in love with MMA and decided to purchase it as a career.”

Yes, you read that right. Yan’s fight against Mirad Bakiev allowed headbutts. Petr Yan was forged in the fire from his very first fight.

Yan trains out of Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand. In addition to Yan, the gym boasts some of the best fighters in the world. There’s Valentina Shevchenko, Ben Nguyen, Timofey Nastyukhin, Loma Lookboonmee, amongst many more. They have some of the best young and up and coming talent in the entire fighting world across many different promotions. Yan has all these training partners and we’ve seen his improvement since coming into the UFC.

“This is the place where I can 100% focus on my fight camp. I’ve been coming here since my debut in MMA and was able to keep getting better as a fighter. Here I’m surrounded with great fighters and coaches from all over the world, everyone with the same goal of being the best. It’s a great working environment. And I love Thailand, the weather, fruits, beaches, all of it helps me recover between the training sessions.”

Yan has never shied down from a challenge and it shows. At only 26 years of age, Yan is incredibly experienced. That experience showed against his fight with the veteran and MMA legend, Urijah Faber.

Faber’s experience didn’t really present many challenges to Petr Yan. There were no puzzles to solve. His footwork was a step ahead of Faber the entire fight. His hands were quicker, he was stronger than Faber, and his reflexes were faster. Yan says he was simply better.

“To be honest I didn’t have any challenges, he was in great shape but it wasn’t enough. I’m ready for much tougher competition.”

 

Petr Yan vs. Henry Cejudo

That potential fight with Henry Cejudo is what fans deserve. But for some reason, Cejudo calls out José Aldo instead, someone who lost on that very same card as Yan. When asked if he thought the bantamweight champion is ducking him, he says he thought so.

“I think it’s pretty obvious he is ducking me and doing everything he can to avoid fighting me. All this talk about him wanting a bigger name is bullshit, he just wants easier fight for himself. Let’s be honest, [it] doesn’t matter who he fights he is not selling 1 million PPV’s. He is not a draw, there is no ‘money’ fights for him. If he want to make money he just need to be part of Khabib vs. Ferguson card or another big card, that’s it. Fans are tired of his antics, more people will pay to see his ass getting knocked out by me, than watch him fighting someone on the losing streak.”

Petr Yan is very critical of Henry Cejudo as you can see. He doesn’t think Cejudo wants the smoke. But Yan is circling in. He deserves the fight and the UFC brass knows it. Just look at what he’s done since arriving in the UFC. 6-0 with three fights a year.

Much is said about Henry Cejudo’s gold medal in Olympic Wrestling. Yan has a reminder for everyone when pondering the matchup between the two. “I’m not competing him in Olympic wrestling, we will fight and I’m better in fighting than him.” He continues, “I already know how to beat him, just give me the chance to show it.”

Anyone, anytime, anywhere

Petr Yan isn’t going to wait around for Cejudo however. He has a bloodlust that should scare the entire bantamweight division. He will fight anyone on any day and anywhere. It doesn’t matter who’s backyard it is in.

“I’m not going to sit and wait, I will fight whoever [the] UFC and my management team want me to beat next. I’m not picking my opponents like Triple Clown, I’m earning everything with my actions and performances. If Cejudo is afraid to fight real contender I can face [Aljamain] Sterling, [Marlon] Moraes, [Cory] Sandhaegan or anyone else who will bring me closer to the title shot.”

Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling have been going at it on social media for a while. If Cejudo does fight someone not named Petr Yan, Sterling and Yan would put on a fight that could leave fan’s heads spinning from sheer excitement. Same goes for Marlon Moraes and Cory Sandhagen, Yan has options.

Be sure to follow Petr Yan on  Instagram and Twitter to follow his fight journey as he continues his path to becoming the best bantamweight in the world.

Petr Yan: The Next Great Bantamweight Champion

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