A dominant Chinese strawweight returns to the octagon at UFC Vegas 13. Not champion Zhang Weili, but rather Yan Xiaonan — undefeated through five five straight fights in the octagon so far. She’s paired up with Claudia Gadelha on the main card this Saturday.
Xiaonan, however, has not caught the spotlight the way the current champ did in her run to the title. Perhaps that has something to do with her fighting style. Or lack of finishes.
Speaking at the UFC Vegas 13 media day this week, Xiaonan admitted that she “hopes this upcoming fight will end up in a finish win.” In doing so, the rising strawweight talent also hopes to “prove my fighting ability and everything.” Because thus far, frankly Xiaonan believes that her ability has been “kind of ignored.”
“This fight is going to prove [my] finish ability and prove how good [I am],” said Xiaonan, speaking via translator.
Gadelha and Xiaonan were originally booked to compete in September, until an injury to the Brazilian forced the fight to be postponed. The bout being pushed back “gave her more time to prepare for this fight,” said Xiaonan, who also noted that “everything good comes in the end.”
While the fight against Gadelha could propel her forward in the strawweight division, Xiaonan is keeping her emotions in check. “Claudia can give [me] a bigger victory.” One that will prove how good she really is, Xiaonan added.
The goal, of course, is the title, held by countrywoman Zhang. If the two do meet inside the octagon, “it’s going to be a fight everybody’s watching back home, and also in the States,” said Xiaonan, who added that she’s already “more like a champion than Weili.”
Asked to elaborate, Xiaonan joked “because I’m prettier.” As to what would make her the woman to defeat the champ, Yan Xiaonan added “because we’re all from China, and we all know each other. That’s also [my] advantage [over other competitors].” After all, she would know her opponent better.
Watch the full UFC Vegas 13 virtual media day press scrum with Yan Xiaonan above. The card takes place Saturday, November 7 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.