Las Vegas, NV — Chinese bantamweight Song Yadong has seen his career sputter along in fits and starts over the last two years, through no real fault of his own.
He fought just twice in 2019, certainly not the pace a young fighter wants to compete at. One of those fights saw Yadong (16-4-1), 23-years old, fight to a draw with Cody Stamann. The other was a win over Alejandro Perez. In 2020, a year hampered by the coronavirus pandemic, the Chinese standout picked up a big win over Chito Vera, albeit up a weight class. But that was his only fight.
Still, there’s no frustration at the time on the sidelines, he explained during the UFC 259 media day this week. That’s because he “totally understands how difficult [a time] the UFC has gone through,” and he “really appreciates the fight.”
Speaking via translator, Yadong added that he understood how hard it was for the UFC to operate during such a trying time. And as for getting the unranked Kyler Phillips at UFC 259, Yadong noted that he “has a long career to go” — and therefore he would definitely face everybody. “Ranked, not ranked.”
Song went through the process himself, of course, from unranked to ranked. “Everybody has to get through this,” he noted.
When it comes to the sort of opponents he wants, Yadong expanded on the topic during a virtual media day session. The Chinese fighter “feels really open about this,” he said. While bantamweight is his optimal division, for the Chito fight, he took it “really short notice, on like two weeks.” So 145lbs made sense. And ultimately, he’s “open for any fighters he can match up with,” he added.
“Definitely [I] would like to fight a higher ranked guy, but Kyler is also good for [me], and [I] will get good experience from this fight,” Yadong later stated. But with that in mind, moving forward, Yadong “would like to challenge somebody ranked top 10,” he said.
Song Yadong faces Kyler Phillips at UFC 259 this Saturday, March 6 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.