Petr Yan has been adding fans to his bandwagon thanks to what he’s showcased in the Octagon. But “No Mercy” is also showing he’s got some newsworthy, promotional abilities on the mic.
Yan arrived in the UFC last year with a fair amount of hype in prospect and hardcore fan circles, thanks to what he demonstrated fighting in organizations like ACB. Since then, however, the 26-year-old’s lived up to the hype and then some, by going 4-0 in the UFC. Most recently, the Russian fighter outscored former flyweight challenger and current bantamweight contender, John Dodson, for the UD win.
Well, up next, Yan has been booked to fight fellow contender Jimmie Rivera at UFC 238, June 8th. “No Mercy” was recently on the Eurobash podcast, and here’s some of what Yan had to say about the fight and his future (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“I saw his fights against John Dodson and Aljamain Sterling, I don’t think it was a case of him not showing up, that’s always his level and it was also about what his opponents did. Aljamain did a good job of stopping him. I don’t think it was a flawed performance by Jimmie, I just think that’s just his normal level,” Yan said.
“I don’t think speed will be the main factor, the key factors will be my technique and my IQ—the decisions I make in the Octagon. I don’t think I need to be fast in this fight, I just need to do the right thing at the right time. That’s how I’m preparing for him, you’ve got to hit him hard at the right times.”
“My prediction is that I’ll beat the sh-t out of him, then celebrate the victory and ask who’s next.”
Now, sure, these comments aren’t exactly Conor McGregor-esque in terms of trash talk. But, they’re certainly statements that will help Yan attract more fans or haters, and either way, that’s a good thing for his career and the UFC.
This aside, it’s going to be really interesting to see how Yan does against Rivera. Although the latter has dropped two of his last three, it wasn’t long ago when he was knocking on the title shot door. As it stands right now, Yan is ranked #9 in the UFC’s 135 division and Rivera is #7. So, if Yan can get by Rivera, then you would think a top-five opponent would be next.
UFC 238 will go down in Chicago, Illinois. In the main event, Henry Cejudo will battle Marlon Moraes for the vacant bantamweight title.