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When I spoke with Petr Yan in January 2029, I called him the next great bantamweight champion. A few short months and a pandemic later, he accomplished that goal beating Jose Aldo. While he did not beat Cejudo for the title, he captured the belt and achieved half of the “next great bantamweight champion.” After becoming the champ, it’s time to add great to his resume. The first step: beating Aljamain Sterling this weekend at UFC 259.
Check out our previous interview with Petr Yan below.
After the biggest win of his career, Petr Yan sets his eyes on the next accomplishment, becoming a UFC champion. We talk about that and more in this interview.
Due to the aforementioned pandemic, Petr Yan has had to move his training camp from Tiger Muay Thai in Thailand and come to American Top Team in The States. While he’s in a new location, the champ has brought some of his team with him to prepare for the bout.
“Since Thailand has two weeks mandatory quarantine on arrival, I had to look for other options for my training camp. I had plans to train in the USA before and this time it was a good time for that. Training in ATT was good and most importantly I had my training partners and coach John Hutchinson from Tiger Muay Thai with me here too.”
While Tiger Muay Thai is Yan’s home, he believes that in order to reach his full potential, he can’t become complacent and stop looking to improve. While Yan looks fantastic, he believes he’s yet to reach that next level of himself. Petr Yan says that moving to American Top Team has helped him become an even more complete fighter.
“It’s important to get out of your comfort zone to evolve and learn something new. I still haven’t reached my peak. That’s why it’s great to come to ATT and get new looks and train with new training partners.”
While Yan has had some fantastic fights in the past, and some otherworldly performances, he isn’t partial to a specific fight. Yan says, “Each fight is special in it’s own way for me, all of them were part and important steps of my journey.”
Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling | UFC 259
What I enjoy about Petr Yan is how complete of a fighter he is. In his fight with Urijah Faber, he managed to pull of two tani otoshi, or valley drops, to get the fight where he wanted. It’s a very slick move and while Sterling is billed as the grappler, Yan has some good moves. When asked if he planned on showing off his grappling skills, Yan said be ready because the best is yet to come.
“I’m ready for every aspect of the fight. I still haven’t show even half of my abilities in UFC. My goal is to control the fight and dominate no matter where the fight goes.”
Should Petr Yan win at UFC 259, don’t expect a move to 145. Yan believes he isn’t quite done yet and with how stacked 135 is, he’s got quite a bit of work to do.
“My focus right now is on clearing out the 135 division,” says Yan. “I don’t cut a lot of weight so I never really considered moving up. Obviously the idea of becoming a two weight division champion is very intriguing, but now I have a lot of work to do at 135.”
With that work to be done at 135, many believe the former flyweight and bantamweight champion, Henry Cejudo, and Yan should fight one day. But Yan believes Petr Yan believes that it was the depth at 135 that led Cejudo to retire and vacate the belts.
“135 has many dangerous challengers who are young and hungry. Deep inside he knows he left because it would have been too much for him.”