Petr Yan will look to make it five wins inside a year under the UFC banner when he takes on Jimmie Rivera at UFC 238 this weekend. If he is successful, “No Mercy” believes he will have proven that he is capable of taking on the winner of the main event bantamweight title fight between Henry Cejudo and Marlon Moraes.
“I want the next one to be for the title,” Yan told MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast through a translator.
Yan’s meeting with Rivera is not the only high profile bantamweight clash on the card as Pedro Munhoz and Aljamain Sterling are booked to face off on the event’s undercard. Given his higher placement on the card, Yan believes he is most likely next to fight for the division’s strap if he has is hand raised.
“I don’t put much significance on our placement on the card, but to be honest, yes [it could mean I’m more likely to fight for the title next]. Sterling has never been in an exciting fight. I didn’t know [Munhoz] fought in the UFC for such a long time, I just saw his last fight, I didn’t even know that man existed in the division until his last fight. Obviously, that’s why I’m on the main card,” he said.
The Russian didn’t seem too keen on the idea of the winners of his and Rivera’s clash meeting the winner of Munhoz and Sterling, insisting he would prefer to take a title shot as soon as possible.
“I don’t know what the UFC will decide. It will be my fifth fight inside one year and it took these other guys a lot more fights to get to the same place in the division as me.”
“It would be great to fight for that belt in 2019, right before the New Year,” he added.
As far as Yan is concerned, he’s ready to step up and fight for UFC gold. He also highlighted that he has been preparing for his UFC fights “like an amateur” so far and would expect a considerable step up in performance if he was to have a more structured camp ahead of a title shot.
“Of course I’m ready for the title,” he insisted. “I don’t care if it’s Cejudo or Moraes, I don’t see me lacking anything compared to them. There’s nothing special about them; of course I want to fight the winner of their fight. For all of my other UFC fights I didn’t even prepare that well. I didn’t have structured training, a head coach or anything like that. Honestly, I was preparing like an amateur. If I fight for the title, I’ll be making significant changes to my camp and that will make a difference too.”
Yan refused to forecast whether the fans and media would be calling for him to get the next title shot after Saturday night, but is adamant he will be ready if the call comes.
“I don’t want to say that because it could sound too arrogant,” chimed Yan when asked if his No. 1 contender status would be undeniable after Saturday night. “But the UFC can count on me, and if they want me to be next, I never let them down, so I’ll do what I have to do.”
Check out the latest episode of Eurobash. The Petr Yan interview begins at 54:30.