Adrian Yanez Thinks Beating Vinicius Salvador Doesn’t Earn Him a Ranked Opponent

Adrian Yanez is his toughest critic, no doubt about it. He’s bounced back big time, though. After facing back-to-back knockout defeats, Yanez made a statement by defeating Vinicius Salvador at UFC Fight Night 241 on May 18. Not stopping there, he’s got his sights set on some fresh faces. Victor Henry and Daniel Santos are on his radar, with Santos already stepping up to the challenge. Yanez isn’t shy about aiming high either, dreaming of a bout with Deiveson Figueiredo, though he admits it’s a bit of a long shot.

In a recent chat with MMA Junkie, Yanez opened up about his strategy to climb back up the ranks. It’s all about making smart moves and picking fights that make sense. “If I’m trying to eek my way in, to somehow squeak my way into fighting someone in the top 15, I’d like to fight ‘Figgy’ [Deiveson Figueiredo],” he said. Yanez has a soft spot for Figueiredo because of his battles with Brandon Moreno, Yanez’s favorite fighter.

But, a fight against Figueiredo might have to wait. “Deus da Guerra” is set to face Marlon Vera at UFC Abu Dhabi on Aug. 3. Yanez knows he aimed high with Figueiredo and is keeping his expectations in check. After joining the UFC, Yanez quickly made a name for himself with five consecutive wins. However, 2023 was tough, with losses to Rob Font and Jonathan Martinez knocking him down a peg or two. Despite a recent victory, Yanez is cautious about rushing back into the fray against ranked opponents.

“I did two wrongs, now I gotta make three rights,” Yanez reflected. He knows he has to work twice as hard to make up for past setbacks. Beating Salvador was a step in the right direction, but Yanez questions whether it’s enough to justify a top 15 opponent. “Do I deserve to fight a guy in the top 15 after knocking out Salvador? A guy coming up from 125, 0-2 in the UFC? I don’t think that really gives me a spot to even fight a guy that’s in the top 15,” he pondered, always his own harshest critic.

Yet, Yanez remains optimistic about the future. He believes victories over fighters like Victor Henry or the Basharat brothers, maybe even Aiemann Zahabi, could pave his way to the top 15. “If it was them that I beat, like I smashed or knocked out, yeah, of course, I’d be asking for a guy in the top 15,” he concluded, always looking forward, always planning the next move.

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