Petr Yan wants to prove that he’s the No. 1 contender in the bantamweight division, but he feels as though champion Henry Cejudo’s reign over two divisions, and the talk of incoming legends like Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar, have put some pause to the action at the top of the bracket.
Yan has been actively pursuing a top-tier matchup on the back of his meteoric ascent in the UFC. The Russian has collected five scalps within a year on the promotion’s books, most recently Jimmie Rivera’s, and has been attempting to pit himself in bouts with the likes of Urijah Faber and Marlon Moraes via social media over the last few weeks.
“No Mercy” shed some light on his current situation during a recent appearance on Eurobash.
“I’m the last person Faber should fight,” Yan told MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast, “Because after a fight with me, he will probably retire again.
“To be fair, I understand that he’s looking for a better fight for himself. But if he claims he is a contender and he wants to fight for the title - so am I. We should fight and see who is a better contender. Okay, if he doesn’t want to fight for the title he should have other fights. If you want to fight for the title, you should fight the No. 1 contenders and I believe I am the No. 1 contender now.”
Amidst talk of Aljamain Sterling introducing Edgar to the 135-pound ranks, Yan is open to being the welcoming party for “The Answer” after Sterling was forced to the sidelines due to a wrist injury.
“I would love to fight Edgar, I didn’t call him out or anything like that, but if the UFC offers me this fight, I will not turn it down. I’m interested in this fight too, and if this fight will happen, I’ll make sure it’s an interesting and exciting matchup.”
“When Edgar announced that he was coming down, I already said that I wanted this, but I don’t think he’s willing to fight me. If I call him out, he will stay silent,” he added.
Yan underlined that he is not frustrated by his current situation, but Moraes is one fighter that seems to have earned his ire having not responding to his recent call-outs.
“I’m not frustrated, but it’s hard to believe that none of these guys hear me talking. And they can’t even answer for themselves. Like Marlon, I’ve called him out and he can’t even answer for himself. I lose respect for fighters like that. You can deny a fight with me, but you must at least answer me.”
Although Yan admitted he would have liked to fight in Moscow in early November, he scoffed at the thoughts of a top bantamweight contender meeting him on his home soil:
“They don’t even want to fight in their hometowns, why would you think they would come to Moscow to fight me? They’re going to use every excuse not to fight me!”
Borrowing a well-known phrase of the self-proclaimed “Triple C”, the former ACB champion insists he will make double champion Cejudo “bend the knee” in the future.
“My plan is pretty obvious. My plan is to become champion, hold the belt and I plan to make ‘Triple C’ [Cejudo] bend the knee for me,” he said of Cejudo.
“Of course he’s holding up the division. Everything is up in the air because Henry himself doesn’t know what he’s going to do. He didn’t say he was going to defend his flyweight title first or the bantamweight title. He didn’t make a decision and that’s holding up the division. Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar also plan to come down to this division and this is also changing the landscape.”
“I believe I match up well stylistically with [Cejudo], I’m doing very well against wrestlers. He can believe that I won’t get tired after one round with him like someone else did [Moraes]. I’ll be ready for five or 10 rounds if that’s what’s needed.”
Yan also declared interest in facing featherweight great Aldo if he should decide to move down to the weight class.
“For me, as an athlete and a sportsman, it would be interesting to compete against such a great athlete like Jose Aldo. If he plans to go down, I’m sure he’ll have big plans too and plans for the belt. It’s the same with Urijah, if he wants to fight for the belt, he’s a No. 1 contender and so am I, so we should see who deserves it more.”
Check out Petr Yan’s latest appearance on Eurobash. His interview begins at 13:30.