A lot was expected from Petr Yan in 2018, and the Russian bantamweight delivered on all counts, going three for three in his rookie year in the Octagon. It was 12 months the Yekaterinburg product won’t soon forget.
“In 2018, each fight was special in its own way for me, because it was my first year in UFC,” Yan said through a translator. “I took my preparation for each fight very seriously and it resulted in three wins. I visited countries I had never been to before and also had a chance to have a Fight of the Night performance in my homeland.”
That September Fight of the Night battle with Jin Soo Son in Moscow was sandwiched by stoppages of Teruto Ishihara and Douglas Silva de Andrade that rocketed Yan into the top 14, and he will rise even higher should he defeat No. 8-ranked John Dodson in their February 23 bout in Prague. It may seem like a big leap…and it is…but the ambitious 25-year-old is embracing the challenge.
“I’m glad to fight Dodson, because he is higher than me in the rankings and I go in there just to win,” Yan said. “Everyone had their own time, but now it’s my time to shine and it doesn’t matter who is in my way.”
In that response is the essence of Yan. Polite, respectful, but with a mean streak when it comes to competition. Just look at his fights for proof. He doesn’t make a lot of noise, he doesn’t need to mean mug his opponents, but when the Octagon gate closes, he will punish his foes as he looks for the finish at every turn. It’s made him quite the fan favorite thus far.
“With every fight I can see that more and more people supporting me and cheering for me, and there are more people who like my fights and my technique. It’s really nice and I appreciate having this support from around the world.”
It looks like it’s only going to get bigger and better in 2019. Is it out of the question that this time next year will see “No Mercy” fighting for a world title? Absolutely not. And if that’s the way things go, Yan will have no problem stepping up when his name is called.
“Last year, thank God, everything was successful for me,” he said. “My plan for 2019 is not to relax and to keep working hard, because the competition is only gonna get tougher for me. I’m very determined to keep getting better every day and keep winning. And I want to say again, I don’t care who I will fight as long as it’s someone ranked higher than me. Even if it’s the number one or number two contender, it doesn’t matter. I will fight them all. It all depends on UFC and my management team; my job is to fight. I’m a soldier and I’m at war.”