UFC Auckland featured one of the best women’s strawweight prospects. Xiaonan Yan was an unranked fighter taking on the biggest fight of her life. She fought Karolina Kowalkiewicz and completely dominated the fight. Along with her impressive win, all of China stood behind Yan in solidarity in support of those affected by COVID-19, the coronavirus. Now, she’s ready to move on to the top ten in her division.
Yan started in martial arts at a very young age. “When I was 13 years old, I started studying martial arts routines in martial arts schools,” says Yan. It wasn’t until she was in college that she started training MMA, which was in 2009.
China is a relatively untapped market in the UFC. With there being a few fighters it’s nothing like the representation the United States, Brazil, and Russia has. Yan is honored to represent her country to millions of fans around the world.
“I can feel very honored to represent my country. I hope that the fans of MMA in the world will have more knowledge and understanding of our Chinese MMA players.”
China is under attack from the coronavirus. With it currently untreatable, the virus has claimed the lives of over 2,800 people, predominantly in China. It is becoming a global catastrophe and Yan took precautionary measures ahead of her fight at UFC Auckland.
I was preparing for the fight in Beijing before. When we knew that there was a coronavirus outbreak, we immediately went to Thailand to train,” said Xiaonan Yan. She continues to speak of her travel issues before the fight. “My biggest challenge at that time was the weather adaptation and visa issues. I arrived in New Zealand on the 18th and was the last player to arrive.”
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Xiaonan Yan versus Karolina Kowalkiewicz
As for her fight with Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Yan can’t be more happy with her performance. She completely dominated the fight from the first bell to the last.
“I am very satisfied with my performance this time, so that everyone can see my ability to hold and fall.”
After their fight at UFC Auckland, Karolina Kowalkiewicz posted a heartbreaking video on Twitter about the damage she received in her fight with Xiaonan Yan. Kowalkiewicz and Yan, like every fighter, put their bodies on the line for sport and our entertainment. Some do it for the thrill, some for the test. Yan sends her well wishes to Karolina Kowalkiewicz and her family.
“I hope she recovers soon and has no impact on her future MMA road. She is a respectable fighter.”
Next, Xiaonan plans to take a little time off then get right back to work. Now she has her eyes set on the top echelon of the division.
“I have just arrived in Beijing now, and I will take a break to spend time with my family, and then I will be immediately involved in training. I saw my ranking and I hope that I can play the top ten or top five opponents next time.”
At the top of her division is Weili Zhang, the UFC’s first ever Chinese champion. With Yan within striking distance (pun intended) of a title shot, Yan would love an opportunity to show the world a China versus China title fight.
“If we can compete for the golden belt, it proves that the MMA players in China are getting stronger and stronger. I hope that such a thing will happen.”
Yan predicts Zhang-Jędrzejczyk
Zhang is getting ready to make the first defense of her title. After the dismantling of Jessica Andrade at UFC Shenzhen, whom she took the belt from, Zhang is taking no easy fights. She is set to fight Joanna Jędrzejczyk, the most dominant champion in her division by the end of her reign, at UFC 248 in a couple weeks time. Yan admits the sport is hard to predict. But she is pulling for Zhang in her title fight. All in all, Yan just wants a good fight.
“First of all, as my compatriot, I hope she can win, but the game is not easy to predict, but I believe it must be a wonderful game.”
Xiaonan Yan is assuredly destined for great things. She has her sights set on the top of the division and with as much talent and her level of skills, she has what it takes to make an impact for her country in the UFC.
Be sure to follow Xiaonan Yan on Instagram to follow her fight journey as she rises through the stacked women’s strawweight division.
谢谢闫晓楠的采访。 另外，感谢所有中文读者。 当您度过这个艰难时期时，我的想法和祈祷会传给您的社区。