UFC’s Adrian Yanez lays out path to landing top 15 opponent: ‘I did two wrongs, now I got to make three rights’

Adrian Yanez had a number next to his name, but a recent two-fight skid sent him back to the pool of unranked UFC bantamweights.

After being signed to the promotion from Dana White’s Contender Series in 2020, Yanez (17-5 MMA, 6-2 UFC) looked like one of the best prospects the show ever signed. He ripped through his first five opponents in the UFC, scoring four stoppages, and earned a promotional ranking in the process.

Then came a couple of bumps in the road, or “two wrongs” as Yanez calls it.

First, Rob Font floored Yanez with a right hook in the first round for the first stoppage loss of his career. Six months later, Jonathan Martinez repeatedly chopped away with leg kicks to not only win by TKO but also cause an MCL tear that required surgery to repair.

Yanez fully recovered and returned at UFC Fight Night 241, stopping Vinicius Salvador in the first round with sharp punches. It was a successful return, and another highlight for his reel, but Yanez knows there’s more work to be done before he returns to the rankings.

“I was in the top 15, I lost to two top 15 guys,” Yanez told MMA Junkie Radio. “I have the worker’s mind ethic in my head. Like I did two wrongs, now I got to make three rights. I got to go out there and for every five steps back I take, I got to take 10 steps forward in a sense.

“I felt like I didn’t deserve – especially with a guy like Salvador, like do I deserve to fight a guy who’s in the top 15 after knocking him out? A guy coming up from 125, 0-2 in the UFC, do I deserve to fight a guy in the top 15? I don’t think that really kind of gives me a spot to fight a guy who’s in the top 15. Of course, I went out there and did what I was supposed to do to him. This is me objectively looking at it.”

If Yanez could choose his path, an ideal matchup would be against former flyweight champ Deiveson Figueiredo, who has been on a roll since making a permanent move up to bantamweight.

However, Yanez is honest with himself and knows his next matchup will be another name that could create an exciting fight, but will be an opponent currently outside the top 15. Peers such as Daniel Santos and Victor Henry were names at the tip of his tongue, and if he could face either at the Sphere in Las Vegas, that would be icing on the cake.

“If I could weasel my way in and fight Figgy, that’d be f*cking amazing, but I’m also kind of looking at it objectively,” Yanez said.

“Am I going to get a Figgy fight? Probably not. Am I going to get a guy like Jose Aldo? No, I’m not. Am I going to get Petr Yan? No, I’m not. I would like to fight a guy in the top 15, don’t get me wrong. If the name comes up, and it’s a top 15 guy – you’re going to tell me you’ve got a top 15 guy, or you’ve got Daniel Santos or Victor Henry, I’m going to go for the top 15 guy every single time.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie