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‘No matter who the UFC gives me, I don’t fear’ - Yan Xiaonan feels ready for gold after Dern win

After fighting the best of the best at strawweight, Yan Xiaonan is ready for whatever comes next.

Yan Xiaonan ended a two-fight losing skid on Saturday with a majority decision win over Mackenzie Dern. The victory was the first for Yan since she defeated Claudia Gadelha via decision in November 2020. At the very least, the result should put her in the top five of the official UFC strawweight rankings. She entered the main event of UFC Vegas 61 as the No. 6 ranked fighter in the division to Dern’s No. 5.

After the victory, Yan—who also told UFC commentator Megan Olivi, via an interpreter that she could not have been happier than she was in the moments after the upset win—spoke about the next step in her UFC career.

“My next step right now is to have a break in Sacramento,” said the Team Alpha Male fighter, “My ultimate goal in the UFC, of course, is the belt. Now I have fought the best wrestler in the division, the best striker in the division, the best jiu-jitsu fighter in the division, so no matter who the UFC gives me, I don’t fear. Let’s fight.”

Before defeating Dern, two-time (and current) strawweight champion Carla Esparza knocked out Yan in 2021. Yan followed that setback with a March 2022 split-decision loss to Marina Rodriguez. Obviously, the 33-year-old Yan, who made her UFC debut in 2017 and is 16-3 with one no contest in her career, feels she has the experience and readiness to fight for the title.

Esparza defends her belt against former champion Zhang Weili on November 12 in the co-main event of UFC 281.

UFC Vegas 61 took place at UFC Apex in Las Vegas and streamed on ESPN+.