Adrian Yanez has served as a Meter Reader for the City of Deer Park for four years. Friendly and sweet, he stands at 5’7’’ which he says makes him one of the tallest members of his family. Behind his unassuming personality, Yanez has a completely different side – he was recently chosen to become a Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) mixed martial arts fighter.
Yanez received his UFC contract on August 11, after defeating fellow bantamweight fighter Brady Huang with a 39-second knockout on Dana White’s Contender Series. The honor follows years of professional and amateur matches – Yanez currently holds an 11-3 record - and an even longer history of practicing mixed martial arts.
“I knew going into the fight that I had a chance to win a contract, but it was up in the air,” Yanez said. “I had to win the fight and then, even if you win, you never know if you’re going to get the contract. With my 39-second performance, it was hard to deny that result.
“I’ve been working toward this goal for a very long time. It’s a blessing and I’m super excited.”
White, the current President of UFC, announced Yanez would be receiving a contract and described him as a “sniper.”
“I’ve always tried to be a tactician [when fighting], looking for the right spot to throw a punch,” Yanez said. “It was really humbling for someone of [White’s] stature to notice what I was doing, so I took that as a great compliment. It meant a lot to me.”
Fighting for an Opportunity
Yanez has had his sights set on becoming a part of the UFC for years, and has been competing in amateur, then professional, matches since 2011.
His 11-3 record includes six knockouts/total knockouts, two submissions and three decisions. His first amateur fight was in the Legacy Amateur Series on October 22, 2011, and his first professional fight was on March 14, 2014 in the Texas City Throwdown.
Yanez will have his next fight on October 31 – Halloween Night – as part of UFC Fight Night. He will go up against Aaron Phillips (12-4).
“It seems fitting that I get to fight on Halloween night, because it’s just going to be a nightmare for the other guy,” Yanez said. “I find it even more exciting that I get to fight on Fight Night.”
Yanez said he’s especially excited to be on the Fight Night card since it may be the last fight of legendary UFC fighter Anderson Silva.
“I’ve always wanted to emulate my striking after Anderson Silva,” he said. “I love how he counters [in his fights] – he makes it look so easy. It’s pretty cool that I’m going to be fighting on the same card as a fighter I’ve looked up to for so long.”
Strong support system
Yanez expressed sincere thanks to his coach, Saul Soliz, as well as his manager, Jason House, for his recent achievements.
“My coach has legitimately changed my life,” he said. “He got me to this position by believing in me and consistently pushing me in the gym. He’s been instrumental not just as a coach in fighting but as a coach in my life.
“After my dad passed away, he gave me a way to stay sane and something to look forward to as far as my goals. I’m really grateful to him and to [my gym, Metro Fight Club].”
Yanez also wished to acknowledge his mother, Lidia Yanez, his brother, Andres Yanez, Jr., and his girlfriend, Nicole Garcia for being an incredible support system.
“They have been in my corner supporting me throughout everything,” he said.
Yanez said he has been practicing mixed martial arts since he was 15 years old, and developed an interest in the sport from watching boxing with his father, Andres.
“Growing up, my dad would always put on the boxing fights, and I can remember watching the big ones from around that time, from Oscar De La Hoya to Floyd Mayweather,” Yanez said. “My father was also a boxer when he was younger, and I took pride in that. My dad was a fighter, so I wanted to be a fighter.”
As he got older, Yanez said his father encouraged him to pursue mixed martial arts not because of anyone else, but because it was something he truly enjoyed.
“I used to have this talk with my dad, and he would always tell me, ‘Whatever you want in life, you can get it done, but do it because you want to do it,’” Yanez said. “For the longest time, I wanted to fight for my dad, but once I recognized that I legitimately loved doing it for myself, I found a whole new fire.”
The City of Deer Park congratulates Adrian Yanez for this incredible achievement!