Yan Xiaonan explains how she was ‘not ready’ for Carla Esparza fight, ‘surprised’ UFC gave her Marina Rodriguez


UFC strawweight Yan Xiaonan doesn’t have regrets but admits to making mistakes before she lost her first octagon match against Carla Esparza in May.

According to Yan, Yan’s problems began shortly after receiving the invitation to fight the UFC strawweight champion. From there, things only got worse.

” The biggest lesson from my last fight is that I wasn’t 100% ready for it,” Yan stated in an interview with MMA Fighting. “Even though I thought I was ready for that fight, I was not.

“The whole arrangement for the training camp was pretty disorganized. Although I was offered to fight Carla Esparza, I already had a booking for a return trip to China. Then I made the decision to return to China. When I arrived in China, I was subject to a 21-day ban. I couldn’t train alone at the hotel. Then after the quarantine, I trained in China and then back in the U.S. for about a month. So a lot of back and forth. The whole training camp is just a little bit disorganized.”

She paid for that mistake with a lopsided defeat to Esparza, who earned a second-round TKO finish, halting Yan’s 12-fight unbeaten streak that included six consecutive wins in the UFC.

Yan felt that a win would make a title shot seem inevitable going into the matchup. It appears that Esparza will now have the opportunity to face Rose Namajunas, reigning strawweight champion. Yan isn’t surprised that the former champion was able to fight, even though it hurt her deeply.

“I think Carla deserves the title shot,” she said. I saw on social media some information that Dana White had agreed to allow Carla to compete for the title. She’s worthy of it and is good enough to compete for the title .”


As for the changes Yan made to prevent another bad outing, she to relocate to Sacramento, where she’s been training full-time since this past September with the coaches and fighters of Team Alpha Male.

“Due the COVID travel and quarantine restrictions, it is difficult to return to China,” Yan said. We’ll waste so much time and can’t train well. So I chose to stay here and continue my training with Team Alpha Male.

“The primary reason I made the decision to come to Team Alpha Male was I saw the improvement of Song Yadong, another UFC fighter, and he improved quite a lot since he started training together with Urijah Faber. So I decided I would come here, too, and start training with [Urijah] Faber. This is the reason .”

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Yan praises Team Alpha Male and former WEC champion Faber for making her better.

“I think their understanding of MMA, which opened my eyes, and especially they are still learning new techniques every day,” she said. Some of these new techniques were something I hadn’t seen before. For Urijah, his passion also teaches me, because he comes to the gym very early, and he’s the last one leaving the gym. That’s what I learn from them.”

Yan had no expectations about the kind of matchup the UFC would offer considering her rather one-sided loss. She couldn’t be happier when she was called to face Marina Rodriguez at UFC 272. Marina Rodriguez is considered the next fighter after Esparza.

“I’m very happy with this matchup,” Yan said. “I was even a little surprised when I heard that the UFC offered me this fight against Marina Rodriguez, whose ranking is higher than me. So I really like this matchup.”

While Yan may not be able to forget what she did in Yan’s last fight, the fight will help her get back on track.

“Her striking is really, really good,” Yan said of Rodriguez. She said, “I watched a lot more film on her fights than I did before I realized I would be fighting her.” Her combinations and her distance management are extraordinary. I find her a formidable opponent.

” I think that if we win and show our best, it will make the UFC an exciting, thrilling fight. Then I might be able to challenge for the .”