In advance of UFC DC, China’s Song Yadong discussed how training at Team Alpha Male alongside Urijah Faber has changed him.
Washington, D.C. — Song Yadong is the latest fighter to catch fire out of China. After Li Jingliang, and of course Weili Zhang, the first Chinese UFC champion, Yadong has a chance to be part of UFC history. In particular, should he continue winning. At just 22-years old, and already ranked in the 135lb division, it’s not impossible that he might some day topple Jon Jones’ record as the youngest UFC champion in history.
This weekend at UFC on ESPN 7 (UFC DC, or UFC Washington if you prefer), Yadong (14-3, 2NC) will be tasked with taking on another solid bantamweight talent in Cody Stamann.
He’ll enter the fight having won four straight in the octagon. Three finishes highlight that stretch. A seven fight win streak overall puts plenty of momentum at his back.
The future champ talk is something that Song handles by staying realistic. Success, he explained, comes “only from hard training,” so he “really doesn’t care too much about the attention or the people’s expectations.” Instead, he remains focused on his own training.
Song has been training with Team Alpha Male, and lives in Sacramento part time. Training with a legend like Urijah Faber, he told media outlets including Cageside Press at Thursday’s UFC DC media day, has made him “become a more well-rounded fighter.”
“Before training with Urijah,” explained Song Yadong, he was “more of a striker in MMA.” Which meant he “didn’t grapple much, didn’t wrestle much.” Now, he’s learning different techniques, strategies, and “a different approach in the fight from Urijah.”
Song spends the other half of his time in his native China, where he’s checked out the UFC Performance Institute. He’s happy to fight either at home or in the U.S. One thing he has noticed, however, is an increase in the popularity of MMA in China in the wake of Weili Zhang’s title win earlier this year.
“After Weili got the UFC title, there is more people getting a chance to know what is MMA, what is UFC. More and more people know now China has their own champion already,” said Song. “It has had a big improvement for the MMA industry in China after she won.”
Watch the full UFC DC media day press scrum with Song Yadong above!