Heading into his bout against Brady Huang at Contender Series 2020 this past August, bantamweight Adrian Yanez wasn’t feeling overwhelmed by the opportunity being presented himself, but rather the opposite.
With a potential UFC contract on the line, Yanez was relaxed as could be and went out and picked up a 39-second first round TKO of Haung, earning a contract and fulfilling a career-long goal to become a UFC fighter.
“It was just a weird calmness in that fight for me,” Yanez told MMAWeekly.com. “Everything just seemed to line up right. Stepping into that cage I just knew that I was going to get a contract one way or another. Once I looked across the cage and saw Brady I just knew it wasn’t going to last very long.
“The only thing is I thought it was going to be a more devastating knockout. He bounced up a couple times, but I was hoping to put him away much more efficiently. But I got the win in really great fashion, really quick, and I was really excited because everything went how I trained and how I planned for it to go.”
Following the win a state of euphoria set in for Yanez, so it may have taken a moment for it to settle in that he had achieved his goal of becoming a UFC fighter.
“It took me a minute or two (for me to realize) I just did it, that I had punched my ticket to an organization that I’ve been working my butt off to get to,” said Yanez. “After the fight and everything was settled, I’ve been working even harder. My training has been me being pushed harder because I know what I want: I want to stay here.
“A lot of people get caught up in the dream state of being in the UFC, but I want to be here. I can call myself a UFC fighter and everything, but I don’t want to have a small stint, I want to have a long career in the UFC.”
On Saturday in Las Vegas, Yanez (11-3) will make his proper promotional debut when he takes on Aaron Phillips (12-4) in a UFC Fight Night: Hall vs. Silva bantamweight preliminary bout.
“I just feel that if I stay true to myself and fight how I fight I will get a first round knockout,” Yanez said. “I’ve been looking at film of Aaron Phillips and he’s a good fighter, but I look at my skillset compared to his and I’m just better all-around.
“I cut better angles than he does, my hands are faster, and I hit harder. He might have the kicks on me, but I feel they’re very telegraphed. I feel this is a good opportunity for me to take my game to the UFC. I feel this going to be a showcase for me and show that I’m a proven product in the UFC. I’m going to make a statement.”
As Yanez has stated, he wants to be in the UFC long term. As such he has an outline for how he wants to progress in the company, with adjustments to be made according on how things play out fight by fight.
“I want to be in for the long haul I need to be smart about my decisions and take the fights at the right times,” said Yanez. “I want to fight in the UFC for the long haul, but I have to state my case. I can talk all I want, but on October 31 I have to go out there and prove I belong to be in the UFC when I step into the cage against Aaron Phillips.”