A Deep Breath Before the Plunge

By Elena Katretskaya Feb 6, 2020

The ordering process for Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-views has changed: UFC 247 is only available on ESPN+ in the U.S.

Petr Yan spent the early part of 2020 in the mountains of Sochi, Russia, which was once home to the Winter Olympics. The 26-year-old bantamweight contender has compiled a perfect 6-0 record since joining the Ultimate Fighting Championship roster a little less than two years ago, emerging as a serious threat to reigning 135-pound titleholder Henry Cejudo. Yan has not competed since he cut down Urijah Faber with a head kick at UFC 245 in December and used his time away from training to collect his thoughts.

“After training, I really wanted to go to the mountains, but I didn’t want to fly anywhere,” he told Sherdog.com. “I wanted to stay in Russia. I train in Thailand very often and there is enough sun and sea, but the atmosphere is not enough. The picture in Sochi is very beautiful with snow and pine trees. At the same time, we combined pleasant things with useful activities like snowboarding, went for a walk and enjoyed the mountain air.”

Yan, a product of Archangel Michael Club, has fixed his sights on Cejudo and plans to sharpen his skills further while he awaits his next assignment.

“I’m going to Ossetia or Dagestan,” he said. “I want to compete with high-class wrestlers, and then I’m going to come to the RCC Martial Arts Academy. I will spend some time there and then go to Thailand. I don’t know when or who I’ll face next, and I don’t think it will be that soon. Right now, I’m training on my own in the morning and training with a group in the evening. This time will be good for me. I have to learn something new and keep an eye on my division from the outside. The last year and a half was intense, so we need to choose a good fight.”

Yan’s thoughts on Cejudo …

“I’m watching Cejudo because he has the belt, but there’s not a feeling that he’s unbeatable or anything. I think that the fight with him will take place, and I’m going to take the belt. If Cejudo’s brave enough, it will go five rounds. Last I heard, the UFC gave Cejudo an ultimatum, and if he doesn’t give them an answer, then they will consider other options, including an interim title. Cejudo is the champion, with Marlon Moraes, Aljamain Sterling and me as the top contenders. Moraes beat Sterling, so I’d be more interested in fighting him. If I beat him and go to 7-0, I’d move to the front of the line.”

Yan’s thoughts on talk of a Cejudo-Jose Aldo title fight …

“Honestly, I wasn’t impressed with Aldo against Moraes. They were both tired after the first round, and I didn’t see much intensity or diversity. I understand what’s going on. Aldo is known. He was a champion. Cejudo has irritated the UFC with his conditions. Maybe they think Aldo will be able to beat him. It would be a very big fight, and I honestly wouldn’t be upset about it. It’s just a matter of time for me.”

Yan’s thoughts on serving as a commentator for UFC 246 …

“I got a message from the UFC that they wanted me to commentate on the fight between Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone. It was a first for me. It was clear from the start that McGregor was more motivated and had the best chance to win.”

Yan’s thoughts on choosing sports for his son …

“Swimming, gymnastics and various types of wrestling—these are sports where a child doesn’t get hit on the head and where you grow stronger physically, mentally and spiritually. You learn to communicate with people. You have a trainer and you have a head coach, and you listen to him. However, he’s a kid, and I think he should grow up as a kid. Your talking about team sports for children. If I don’t instill in him the things that are important, who will? I went through all this, too, and I don’t regret a single day of it.” Advertisement
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