Rani Yahya: Mission-Driven Man

Oh, the staying power of Rani Yahya. It’s something else, really. This guy’s been around the block more than a few times. Two decades in the MMA world, and he’s still going strong. Representing American Top Team, he’s a fixture in the UFC since 2011. And guess what? He’s stepping into the Octagon again this Saturday at UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Facing off against Victor Henry, no less. Yahya’s hitting the big 4-0 in September, but age is just a number, right?

Yahya’s got this philosophy about living healthy. It’s all about good habits, both in personal life and training. He credits jiu-jitsu for his career’s longevity. “I’ve been in the UFC longer than most,” he says. And he’s not wrong. But don’t think he’s satisfied. Nope. Yahya’s eyes are on the prize, aiming to outdo his past performances in his upcoming fights.

But it’s not been all smooth sailing. Injuries have been a real pain, literally. Yahya’s had to bow out of fights with Cody Garbrandt and Heili Alateng. “Physical health problems,” he calls them. A hernia in his neck had him thinking about hanging up his gloves. But, as fate would have it, he bounced back. Now, he’s all about being well-rounded – physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. Fighting less frequently, but more mindfully.

Enter Victor Henry. The man’s a former Deep champ and has Josh Barnett whispering wisdom in his ear. With 11 wins in his last 14 fights, Henry’s no joke. Though their last bout ended in a no contest thanks to an accidental low blow, Yahya’s not underestimating him. “He’s got stamina and skills, but I see gaps,” Yahya claims. He’s confident he’ll find those gaps, especially on the ground.

Yahya’s a decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, with a gold from the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Fighting World Championships in 2007. Time might not be on his side, but he’s determined to make the most of what he’s got left. “It’s been an honor,” he says, reflecting on his lengthy career. This fight, this sport, it’s his mission, his passion. And he’s not done yet. Not by a long shot.

MMA News & Rumors