UFC 259: Kyler Phillips Sees Yadong Fight as “Bigger Leap”

Las Vegas, Nevada — Kyler Phillips is about to draw Song Yadong back into the Matrix, and he’s excited with the match-up he has Saturday. “It’s a sweet match-up. It’s definitely a challenge for me, and a challenge for him as well,” he said during this week’s UFC 259 media day.

But that having been said, Phillips sees his opponent as “just another body.” The bantamweight duo throw down on the preliminary card, at one of the biggest events of the year.

“He’s a guy with some power, he’s got some good power wrestling as well. He’s with a good team,” Phillips said of his opponent, before pointing out that “it doesn’t matter what I think. I’m going going to go in there, have some fun, and take him out whenever I can.”

Phillips intends to put the pressure on his opponent come Saturday. “You can’t sit back and just wait and think it’s going to be alright. You’ve got to be ready to counter, but you’ve got to put some pressure [on],” he suggested. “I do best at that. I think my styles match-up too good for anybody. I feel like I have different speeds, I have different styles that are not just physical but mental as well. And those aspects of my game are on a different level.”

Speaking at a virtual media day to promote UFC 259, Phillips also addressed being on a card that will likely garner more attention than most. Asked whether all that attention was extra motivation to go out and make a statement, Phillips replied that “the fact that it’s a bigger opportunity is definitely going to hype you up more. But at the end of the day, it’s the same thing. And all the time, you got to just take every single day, one day at a time and have fun and make the most of it. And I feel like this fight is just another step. This guy’s just another dude in the way I got to take them out and continue to rise to the top.”

“The Matrix” arrived in the UFC last year, a dismal year for many, but a boom year for Phillips himself. Joining the UFC and winning his first two fights built a solid foundation for the bantamweight. Moving forward, Phillips said that plan is that “I’m gonna just gonna keep building my kingdom here.” The idea is to keep the focus on what he has to do, and not to focus too much on “what happens on the outside.”

“My priority is to get to the top and stay there. I just need to keep working inch by inch,” said Phillips. “And sometimes I’m gonna have to take bigger leaps. And I feel like this fight is one of those bigger leaps, but it’s just another one.”

What makes Song Yadong a bigger leap? In this case, “it’s just the timing of his career and my career. And he’s got some big names that he’s fought,” said Phillips, who later noted that “it’s like anybody, it’s four ounce gloves. You got to respect, but I’m gonna put it to him and I’m gonna be on his ass.”

Kyler Phillips faces Song Yadong at UFC 259 this Saturday, March 6 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.