Adrian Yanez always assumed that once he made it to the UFC, he wasn’t going to be left at the altar by prospective opponents or turned down as too risky of a fight.
“I don't what it is about me,” he laughs. “I feel like I'm not that scary of a guy.”
News flash, Adrian. You are. That’s the product of five UFC fights, five UFC wins, four knockouts and five post-fight performance bonuses.
So while the Texan has wanted to fight ever since his first-round stoppage of Tony Kelley last June, no one was lining up to face him. At least not until established bantamweight contender Rob Font agreed that a prospective Fight of the Night with Yanez in Miami was a good way to spend this Saturday night.
“Oh, it's a beautiful fight,” agrees Yanez. “I wish I could actually pull myself out and have an out the body experience and watch the fighting live. That's how much of a fan I am of the matchup that I wish I could actually sit back and watch it as a fan, but I know that's no way possible, so I'm just going to have to fight.”
That’s okay, we’ll do the watching, and yeah, it’s going to be a good one, not just for the high stakes involved between the number six-ranked Font and the number 12-ranked Yanez, but because with both possessing some of the best hands at 135 pounds, let’s just say tuning in is a necessity. And while Yanez is obviously excited about fighting the New England Cartel member and moving up the rankings should he win, he’s even more thrilled to actually be fighting. So is being the guy a lot of folks don’t want to fight a compliment or an insult?
Rob Font vs Adrian Yanez Preview | UFC 287
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Rob Font vs Adrian Yanez Preview | UFC 287
“It's a bit of both,” he admits. “I was wondering what's going on. And also, once you get ranked, everything kind of slows down the division. That's one thing that I figured out the hard way. After that Tony Kelley fight, I got ranked and then boom, it turns into ‘I don't want to fight him because he is behind me; I don't want to fight this guy.’ I talked about it even before I got ranked, that most of the ranked guys don't want to fight a unranked guy because they don't want to lose their spot. There's always that fear. But on my end, I'm just like, I want to fight. I don't care who I fight. I just want to fight.”
He gets his wish, but if the rest of the bantamweights think that a 10-month absence has taken something off his fastball or has him less than sharp for his return, think again, because Yanez believes he’s leveled up since the Kelley fight.
“It was a rollercoaster ride, but I was learning, I stayed in the gym and trained consistently two times a day and three times a day, at times. I was consistently on the grind and worked on a lot of technique, so I've only grown. I feel the best I've ever felt on the technical aspect because it helped me close a lot of holes that I didn't know I had.”
Add former UFC star Yves Edwards to the training mix as a coach, and Yanez made the time off work for him professionally, while he also got more downtime to spend with his son.
“That's the biggest plus side to not having a fight because I was actually able to sit down and search for what I needed, and I found it.”
All that’s left is the fight, and Yanez can’t wait to show everybody what he found over the last year.
“I'm excited because I never would've thought in a million years that I'd be here,” he said. “I’m a smalltown guy from LaPorte, Texas, and I’m ranked top 15 in the world at bantamweight and I’m going to be on the main card of such of a big card. It's giving me excitement, and I'm ready to take hold of it.”
UFC 287: Pereira vs Adesanya 2 took place live from Kayesa Center in Miami, Florida on April 8, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!