Former UFC bantamweight champ Petr Yan isn’t thinking about the title picture at the moment, despite a high-profile assignment this Saturday.
“I think I need to win the fight first, and we’ll see what’s next,” said Yan (16-4) during this week’s UFC Las Vegas media day. “I already beat O’Malley, if I have to do it again, I’ll do it more convincingly.”
Yan, of course, did not beat Sean O’Malley at UFC 280 last October, at least not according to the judges. Instead, he was on the wrong end of a split decision. Whether he gets a rematch remains to be seen; first up, however, is Merab Dvalishvili. And with that in mind, Yan is trying not to think about the judges.
“I made a decision, if I need to move forward, I need to forget about the past,” Yan stated. “So I’m just thinking about the future.”
The future sees Dvalishvili gunning for the ex-champ. The Georgian had plenty to say about Russia’s Yan this week; political and personal motivations seem to be fuelling that. Russia invaded Georgia years before it went to war with Ukraine; Yan also landed an illegal knee on Merab’s teammate, Aljamain Sterling, in their first fight.
To Yan, Merab’s talk is attention-seeking. “I think he doesn’t have any other way to bring attention to himself. He cannot do it in his fights, in his fights all he does is like a dog, they take a leg and push the opponent to the cage. So he’s just trying to take a little attention. No one is interested in him,” claimed Yan.
That includes an incident that transpired at the fighter hotel earlier in the week.
“I was leaving the hotel for training at the PI, and he came up to me. He was asking for a cross-interview with The Schmo, to promote the fight,” Yan recalled. “But like I already mentioned, no one’s interested in Merab, and I’m not interested in promoting him either.”
Watch the full UFC Las Vegas media day appearance by Petr Yan above.