Following his second round submission victory over Johny Bedford on Saturday night in Brasilia, Rani Yahya left little doubt regarding the animosity between himself and his two-time opponent.
The submission specialist informed MMAFighitng.com that Bedford had openly threatened to kill him during their weigh-in staredown, and while that is generally a cause for concern, he took it as a sign of weakness and used it to his advantage.
"He said, ‘Do you think I'm afraid of you? I'm going to kill you.' I don't know when he saw that because I never asked him if he was afraid of me," Yahya explained following his win. "So he showed me that he was afraid. I'm afraid too. I have fear but the difference is I admit that because I'm a human being and I use that fear in my favour."
The threat motivated Yahya to incorporate the element of surprise in his bout, as he came out aggressive in the opening minute and landed a barrage of strikes on the startled Bedford.
"It kept me focused. I tried to surprise him with my striking, which he did not expect. So I was able to land a lot of strikes on him."
Yahya explained that his lack of emotions and automatic respect for all opponents is the reason why he was able to remain calm and control his efforts in the octagon.
"I respect my opponents. I kept myself calm, kept myself cold to do what I had to do."