UFC’s Adrian Yanez knows fans want him to knock out Tony Kelley for ‘bigotry’

Adrian Yanez (15-3, 11 finishes) will look to remain undefeated during his UFC tenure when he takes on Tony Kelley (8-2, six finishes) in the UFC Fight Night featured preliminary bout of Saturday (prelims 4 p.m., ESPN2; main card 7 p.m., ESPN) from the Moody Center in Austin, Texas. The Houston-based bantamweight took the time to chat Q&A style with The Post’s Scott Fontana for the post-fight interview.

Q: Which is better: winning your first four UFC fights or earning $50,000 in bonuses in each one?
A: Four bonuses, in addition to 4-0. One hundred percent four bounties, for me, have been amazing because just within my first contract, I already outperformed with just two bounties. So I was like, “I already outplay a lot of these guys that are on base contract outside of my base contract” every time I fought. Fortunately, I have a new contract, so everything is a little better.

Q: When did you start your new contract?
A: I started the new [four-fight] contract every time I fought Davey [Grant, last November].

Q: How does it feel to fight at home in Texas again?
A: I’m super excited. It’s a plus factor. … When I found out it was in Austin, I was like, 100%. I want to fight there. I have to fight in Texas. I don’t care even if it’s Dallas. I don’t care if it’s in San Antonio or somewhere else; I just want to fight in Texas. I wanted to fight in my country of origin. I really don’t want to go fight in California or New York or anything like that. I would rather fight here in Texas or in Las Vegas.

Adrian Yanez (left), who beat Randy Costa (right) in 2021, takes on Tony Kelley in the UFC Fight Night preliminary round on Saturday.
Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Q: How was your experience training at Serra BJJ on Long Island?
A: These guys are just fucking animals. … I loved every moment, just being there, the energy, the guys coming in. Man, they’re all beasts.

Q: This is your first fight as a father. How has it been training and sleeping while adjusting to having a baby at home?
A: Luckily for this camp, my daughter did a really good job of… she knows how exhausted I am from training, so she took over. And I just know that I’m going to have to pay it back a hundredfold after that (laughs). The fit was amazing. I love it. It made everything so much easier, just to get on with my day and just in general. I say it all the time: waking up with him is just amazing. I wake up, get him ready to go to daycare, give him my little flavor. From time to time. I’ll send a picture to her mom, and she’ll be like, “Oh, you got it in that [outfit]?” And I’m like, “Yeah, I do. I have it in there. Just like “best friends with dad” [shirts]. I have all the dad shirts that I put on him. That’s pretty cool, man. I love it. I love him so much.

Q: Did it occur to you that you would be fighting the day before Father’s Day?
A: Oh, 100%. My girlfriend is actually the one who said to me, “Hey, you know you fight on Father’s Day weekend? I was like, “Even better.” We celebrate my victory and Father’s Day. She’s like, “What do you want for Father’s Day?” I was like, “A $50,000 bonus (laughs).”

Q: This fight is against Kelley, who has been criticized for the way he talked about Viviane Araujo and “dirty Brazilian whores” in the corners of Andrea Lee. What did you think of this situation?
A: Whenever I found out, I wasn’t even watching the fights. Legitimately, I really wasn’t. My phone ended up exploding because, at the time, I had a family thing. … It didn’t change the fact that I want to knock him out anyway. I’m not a fan of, like, the first thing he goes to is, “She’s a dirty Brazilian.”

To me, I feel like it was in the sense of bigotry. It was the first thing he went to. Usually, because I corner fighters all the time too, it never occurred to me to immediately insult an entire country. So, to me, I look at it kinda funny. But at the same time – I always say it like this – he was cornering his significant other. I don’t give her any wiggle room, but it brings a lot of emotions with this because no one wants to see their significant other get beat up. I can understand getting fired and all that. But the first thing he goes to is, that’s when I’m like, “I don’t know, brother. It’s a bit weird. Is that the first thing you go to? I start looking at you sideways, I start looking at you sideways. But again, that doesn’t change the fact that I wanted to knock him out. And the only thing that changes is that there are a lot more people who want to see me knock him out. So I think that’s pretty cool.

Q: Kelley is 2-0 as a bantamweight. What do you think of him as a fighter?
A: These comments in no way diminish his skills. He’s a very good solid fighter. He’s a serious brawler. It has become much more technical over the years. But it is a bit long in the tooth. What I mean by that is that he is [35] years old, so he is a bit older. The body needs to empty every once in a while, so I think it’s getting closer to that age. I feel like he’s just perfect [opponent] all around because I feel like I’m the better fighter. I feel like I’m hitting harder, I’m younger and I’m faster. He’s definitely brave and he doesn’t mind fighting this fight. So for me, being the technical guy, of course, I’m going to find the openings, and I’m going to take them. I plan to take him out.

Q: Do you remember your first experience with MMA?
A: I’ll put it this way: it wasn’t the maximum, I guess you could say, [politically correct] thing to say. But now, having seen Carlos Newton and Matt Hughes fight, it has completely changed my perspective on it. I was like, “Oh, that’s pretty badass.” And then seeing Ultimate Knockouts 6, 7, 8 and all of those completely changed my mind.

Q: You can fight anyone who has ever lived. Who do you choose?
A: I would actually like to do some tricks with it [Adolf] Hitler. I would like to entrust him with the work. Or Alexander the Great; I think that would be a good one too.

Q: Typical weight between fights?
A: It’s starting to climb. I used to try to stay healthy all year round. I try to stick around [154 pounds] at ’56. But now since I’ve been doing strictly MMA the longest, adding strength and conditioning, I’ve added more muscle, I’m starting to get to 60s, 62s. But I hate to see that number, so I’m trying to reduce my diet a bit more. It gets hard every time you’re out [training] camp, you’re like, “You can’t [usually] have this. Might as well have that now.

Q: Maybe a little Dr. Pepper, your favorite drink?
A: Oh, all day, Dr Pepper. It’s honestly probably the thing that lifts my weight.

Q: Typical weight on fight night?
A: That slipped through too. Every time I fought Randy [Costa], I got up until ’55, and every time I fought Davey, I got up until ’55. I remember saying that to Randy, and I was like, “Man, how much weight did you gain? He was like ’43. He was like, “What did you do?” and I was like, “’55”, and he was like, “What the fk?”

Q: Who do you admire most in MMA?
A: Raufeon Stots and Aljamain Sterling.

Q: Favorite movie?
A: “Avengers: Endgame”.

Q: Your favorite outdoor activity?
A: I don’t do a lot of outdoor activities. But when I do something, it usually has to involve water.

Q: Favorite video game?
A: “Apex Legends”.

Q: What’s a perfect day for you that doesn’t involve a fight?
A: Just being with my family and eating really good food.

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