Rising bantamweight Adrian Yanez is keen to prove he belongs in ‘the best boxer in the UFC’ discussion and has pitched a tournament to prove just that.
Yanez has been rapidly rising up the 135-pound division and proving himself to be one of the hottest prospects in the promotion. After building a three-fight winning streak with triumphs under the Fury FC and LFA banners, the Texan established his name with a memorable contract-winning performance on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2020.
In the year that followed, Yanez made an immediate impact with Performance of the Night-worthy knockouts of Victor Rodriguez, Gustavo Lopez, and Randy Costa. Continuing his bonus streak last weekend, the 27-year-old faced his toughest test to date in the form of the always-tough and durable Davey Grant.
Despite being unable to maintain his 100% UFC finish rate, Yanez emerged victorious on the judges’ scorecards and added an established name to his résumé.
Yanez Names 7 Bantamweights He’d Love To Box
Following his fourth UFC victory, Adrian Yanez made an appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour. After discussing his ongoing success in the UFC and his latest triumph n the Octagon, Yanez was asked whether he believes his boxing should be spoken about more.
In recent weeks, many have debated which UFC stars boast the most talent with the hands, and some have listed the top-five pugilists in the promotion. The likes of Alexander Volkanovski, Conor McGregor, and Max Holloway have staked their claim for the title. But Yanez believes he deserves to be towards the top of the rankings and admitted it frustrates him when his boxing ability isn’t considered among the best in the UFC.
“Oh absolutely, absolutely (I should be in ‘the best boxer in the UFC’ discussion). It needs to be said. Every time I see someone, see those forums put up or they make lists or anything like that, I’m just always annoyed ‘cos I’m like, ‘I know I’m one of the best, I know I’m one of the best.’ I should be up there for sure. It’s not even just… a lot of people just look at the offensive stuff and I’m just like, ‘Bro, you gotta look at the defensive side as well.’ You’ve gotta look at the defensive side, the footwork; there’s a lot of things to look at.”
Yanez went on to pitch the idea of a tournament in the UFC. After naming a host of bantamweights he’d love to trade boxing-glove leather with, the 27-year-old pleaded with Dana White to let them duke it out in an elimination format.
“I know UFC has Zuffa boxing, so man, Dana White, let’s put on some boxing gloves with a lot of these guys in the 135-pound division and let’s duke it out. I think that would actually be fun. Like a little bit of a fun thing that you can do with UFC fighters who haven’t took like, an MMA fight in a while, be like, ‘Man, throw on some boxing gloves for Zuffa boxing,’ and just have them duke it out. I have a couple of matchups that I would like to see, for myself.
“There’s a lot of guys, man. Of course, the champ Petr Yan, the interim champ, the interim champ, Petr Yan. I’d like to strap on the eights with him. It’d be fun, I would love it. Also, Cody Garbrandt, he has some great boxing as well… Rob Font, José Aldo, of course, Sean O’Malley; I think he has some great striking.
“Who else… Oh yeah, Julio Arce. I know he just lost to Song Yadong but he has some really great boxing, and also Song Yadong as well. They have some really great hands. I think just throw us in a tournament and we all go out there and duke it out with the boxing gloves on. I think that’d be fun.”
Would you like to see a UFC boxing tournament featuring the likes of Adrian Yanez, Petr Yan, and Sean O’Malley?