The announcement that Petr Yan will face John Dodson at UFC Prague has injected some much-needed energy into the February card, and “No Mercy” has no intention of slowing down following a groundbreaking year in 2018.
The Siberian’s three one-sided victories in the Octagon were recently awarded with a new UFC contract. One of the breakout fighters of last year, Yan acknowledged that his first seven months as a UFC fighter couldn’t have gone much better.
“I had a goal and desire to fight a ranked fighter, and we did it in such a short period of time,” Yan told MMA Fighting. “I think it’s a perfect start and it’s down to the great work of my management team, Ruby Sports and Entertainment; together we are strong!”
Undoubtedly the most formidable opponent Yan has been matched with under the UFC banner, Dodson is a former flyweight title contender and is currently ranked No. 8 in the promotion’s official rankings. As far as the Russian is concerned, a win in Prague could prove to be a launching pad to bigger things, given Dodson’s stock.
“Dodson is a famous, well-known fighter who has competed for a long time,” Yan said. “He has a lot of experience. I think it’s a good time for me to become better known myself and climb the rankings. I’m the only Siberian fighting in this organization and I will show everyone what we are made of.”
Despite Dodson’s lack of consistency at the moment — he hasn’t strung two wins together since 2015 — Yan is adamant that the American’s standing in the rankings is all he needs to motivate him ahead of the clash.
“To be honest, I don’t care if he won or lost his last fight. What’s important is that he is ranked higher than me. He is top-eight, so that motivates me to beat him and take his place. He is experienced, but I can’t say he has a big arsenal of moves. He is pretty predictable and not very versatile. I have a lot of experience at amateur and in my pro career, so I don’t think he can surprise me,” Yan explained.
“I don’t know how the fight will go,” he added. “I use my initiative to control everything in my fights. I always try to take the center of the Octagon, but I can work as a counter fighter too. I will prepare something interesting for him.”
Yan vows to do everything in his power to continue to fight at the same startling rate that he has showcased over the first seven months of being a UFC fighter, and he underlined his intentions to unsettle the pack that currently occupy the top-five spots in the 135-pound rankings.
“In 2019, I want to fight as often as I did in 2018; maybe more, maybe less frequent, it all depends on my body and soul,” he said. “If everything goes well and there are no obstacles, I will fight every time the UFC offer me an opportunity. I will climb higher in the rankings and one day I will reach the top-five fighters in the division.
“[I’ll take on the] guys that everyone thinks are untouchable, guys who many don’t want to face, and we will see who’s made of what. Not many people believe in me, but that only motivates me more. I know and I can see that I can do it. So wait and see, slowly but surely we are moving forward.”