UFC 259: Song Yadong media day interview

Song Yadong talks to the media pre-fight at UFC 259 before his bantamweight bout with Kyler Phillips on Saturday in Las Vegas.

Video Transcript

- So it's been 10 months since the last time we had a chance to see you fight. Obviously, it's been a crazy time for everybody, but can you tell us what you've been up to during this time?

INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

SONG YADONG: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

INTERPRETER: I've been always training during these 10 months. I have some fights scheduled in between, actually, but my opponent has injured. And then this schedule is, like, different. But I've always been preparing, preparing for the fight.

- [INAUDIBLE]

INTERPRETER: Mm-hmm.

- Has it been frustrating at all to not be able to fight? Because I feel like there was a lot of momentum in his career that's kind of been halted during this stretch.

INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

SONG YADONG: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

INTERPRETER: Yeah, so he totally understands how difficult the UFC has gone through. And he really appreciated the fight coming on for any fight that he won. And then he understands, like, how hard it is to do it.

- And so what about this match up with Kyler? He fought more established names before, so was it frustrating at all to have to fight maybe kind of a lesser name? Or is it just important to just fight anybody?

INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

SONG YADONG: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

INTERPRETER: He feels he has a long career to go, so he definitely would face everybody, with ranked not ranked. And also he is coming through this now, no ranking and to the ranking. So everybody has to go through this, and he will come to any challenge.

- What does he think about Kyler as a fighter? He's kind of a newer name, but he's been impressive so far. Does he think there's anything special or unique about him as an opponent?

INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

SONG YADONG: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

INTERPRETER: He thinks it's a really good matchup, and he thinks Kyler would have a lot of good movements. And then he's good with grappling and on the ground. And he's looking forward for this match.

- Last thing for me. What's the goal here? I mean, obviously you want to win, but after that, is it about kind of making up for lost time after only fighting once in 2020? So what's the goal afterward?

INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

SONG YADONG: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

INTERPRETER: He thinks he will take it step by step. And his goal is always to get into ranked number 10, like top 10, yeah. But finally, he needs that championship for sure, but he has to do it step by step.

- Song, right? The championship fight in your division is on the same card as you. Was it important to be on the same card, so you can possibly be on the same timeline as the champion and future contenders?

INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

SONG YADONG: Hm, [SPEAKING CHINESE]

INTERPRETER: Uh-huh. He doesn't feel a very big difference, but he just thinks that he needs to do good performance for himself.

- Who do you think wins between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling later on in card?

INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

SONG YADONG: Mm.

INTERPRETER: [LAUGHS] Hard to say, huh?

SONG YADONG: Uh, [SPEAKING CHINESE]

INTERPRETER: OK, he's more looking into Sterling because he thinks he really has good groundworks, and it's hard for Petr Yan to really defend all of them. So he feels Petr Yan probably has, like, more pressure on that.

- And one final one-- the title fight at the main event between Jan Blachowicz and Israel Adesanya, who do you think wins that fight?

INTERPRETER: I'm sorry?

- The main event, the title fight, between Jan and Israel in the main event.

INTERPRETER: Oh, OK. [SPEAKING CHINESE]

So you mentioned about Jan last fight?

- Who does he think wins in the main event, like, between--

SONG YADONG: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

INTERPRETER: Ah, OK. [SPEAKING CHINESE]

SONG YADONG: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

INTERPRETER: He feels Adesanya, he will win the fight because he thinks he moves really fast, yeah, and very on the point.

- Song, over here. We had heard that Dana says he's hoping to get the UFC to Asia. Obviously, it's only been Vegas or Fight Island. Hearing that, are you excited that the UFC may come closer to home, so you don't have to travel as far to fight?

INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

SONG YADONG: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

INTERPRETER: He said, of course, he would love to fight at his home country, but he's being always training in the states. So it's also very convenient for him to come out in Vegas.

- My final question-- here in the United States, we don't get to see just how popular some of the other athletes are in their country, specifically Weili Zhang, can you talk a little bit-- just how popular is she over there that we would not see here in the United States?

INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

SONG YADONG: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

INTERPRETER: Weili has been the first champion in China, and she's been promoted a lot in China. And she gets a lot of explosion in China. That's why, like, everybody in our country knows her, like, very well.

But something that really would take a lot more fights in the states, like in the future. And then we'll get more explosion here as well.

- Thank you.

- Song, since you've been training in MMA, how much have you seen the sport grow in China?

INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

SONG YADONG: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

INTERPRETER: He was saying that it's already out of his imagine. It's really fast because we have one champion and three people in the top ranking right now. And he thinks because Weili's championship is, like, explode this career-- I mean, industry in China a lot.

And then a lot of people have attracted to this sport and start practicing. But before, when he was young, he was in those Kung Fu fighting schools. There are a lot of talented fighters that may be more talented than him. It's just they never practiced MMA.

But right now, since MMA is getting to China, a lot of people knows about it. He believes there will be more talented fighters coming out from China.

- I mean, where do you see this sport going in China? Like, how far could it get? How popular can it get?

INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

SONG YADONG: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

INTERPRETER: He's looking into--

SONG YADONG: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

INTERPRETER: Oh, yeah, sure. He's saying he's looking at MMA as how NBA is famous in China.

- Song, back here, just one for me. You know, for Yan Xiaonan's last training camp, I know she was working with you at Team Alpha Male. And I'm just curious what that was like, you know, working with her and what you see in her potential and how far she can go.

INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

SONG YADONG: [SPEAKING CHINESE]

INTERPRETER: Yeah, he's been training with Xiaonan for a long time at Team Alpha Male, and he thinks that Xiaonan is really, like, an explosive kind of fighter. And then he thinks Xiaonan is also a very strong-minded female fighter, probably the best he's seen.

And then he really looks into, like, Xiaonan could get a championship.

SONG YADONG: Thank you.