Petr Yan Is One Scary Champion

(PHOTO: Essentially Sports)

Petr Yan gave Jose Aldo a serious thumping to win the bantamweight championship at UFC 251. The result is not because of Jose Aldo being at the tail end of his career and operating with a diminished durability and skill set, quite the contrary. In fact, the Aldo we’ve seen since dropping down to the bantamweight division is looking sharper than he has in years. Saturday night was no different, in a bid for the vacant bantamweight championship Aldo looked phenomenal from the jump. Actively utilizing leg kicks, which is something he hasn’t done for some time, and landing some of the cleanest and well-placed body shots that’ll you’ll see in MMA.

But as great as he looked, it was the desire of the ultra dangerous Petr Yan that was just too much to overcome for the former long-reigning featherweight champion. Yan is too skilled, too dangerous, and too hungry to be beaten right now. Even if the opponent happens to be the consensus greatest featherweight champion in the history of the sport. The reality is, the timing was on Yan’s side heading into the title fight. Had these two competed against each other when Aldo was in his physical prime and his career ascending, Saturday nights fight would have looked completely different.

But that’s not the world we live in, the world we live in is a world where Aldo is cemented as a legend in the sport because of the outstanding career that saw him reach the highest of highs on the biggest stage’s this sport has to offer. It’s been this way for years now, but that’s just it, pique Aldo is a thing of the past.

Pique Petr Yan is a thing of the future, and if a still growing and developing Yan performed like that at this point in his career, what’s the next couple of years going to look like? We have never seen somebody in the 135lb division hit as hard as him, and that goes for both on the feet, and when grounded. As a lighter weight division, the bantamweights have been criticized in the past for not having the power to end fights early. If Yan’s performances keep trending in this direction, that narrative is going to get flipped on its head.

The stock of the bantamweight division is on the rise, and it’s poised to reach new heights with Cody Garbrant, Aljamain Sterling, Marlon Moraes out there looking better than ever. Not to mention the potential stars in the making such as Sean O’Malley, who aside from having the “it” factor is an incredible talent inside the cage who will only continue to get better as time goes on. It’s a shame Henry Cejduo isn’t around anymore, because he would fit nicely into this group of elite talents all vying to be champion, but you have to think we haven’t seen the last of him. So at this time, there are so many great possibilities with multiple viable contenders to challenge the new bantamweight champion.

With that being said, Yan is a bad fight for every one of the aforementioned fighters. Before he earned the strap, it was a situation where there isn’t exactly a list of fighters raising their hand to get in there and to have to fight Yan. Now that he has the title, that will change, but anyone who agrees to step in there with him is well aware of the risk they are assuming. With the win on Saturday night, Yan didn’t just become champion, he also furthered the narrative that he is one of the scariest fighters on the UFC roster.

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