Friday, November 11, 2011

Adrian Yanez Interview - From Mat to Cage in 2 Years

This is the post-fight interview of Adrian Yanez and actually my first interview to publish on my blog.  Adrian Yanez is one of my teammates and had his first amateur MMA cage fight on Saturday, October 22nd.  I will start by saying that I would not have missed this fight for anything in the world.  My daughter skipped her high school homecoming dance to go see this fight.  I didn't go watch his fight with the intention of interviewing him.  It hadn't even crossed my mind at the time.  But when I saw him step into the cage for the first time I knew that what I was witnessing was something special (plus we were surrounded by more of his family members than I could even count and the love and pride they had for him was quite apparent).  He actually started Elite MMA at the same time my kids did, and just two months before I did.  Having personally trained with Adrian Yanez over the past two years, it was thrilling to watch him train for this fight, and then to see him win filled me with tremendous pride.  You might be asking, what's so special about that, lots of guys fight these days.  Well that might be true, but Adrian Yanez is only a 17 year old high school student.  I've watched him transform his body and mind over the last two years.  I don't know many 17 year old kids with the kind of drive and determination he has.  He just never gives up.  He inspires me.  I can't tell you how many times on the mat Adrian has come up behind me and cheered me on, made me push myself just a little bit harder while never letting me give up.  So I got the idea that I wanted to pick his brain a little bit.  How about an interview?  That sounded pretty cool...find out what a 17 year old cage fighter has to say.  From the mat to the cage in 2 years is pretty impressive so I hope you all enjoy the Q&A below as much as I did.

Adrian taking care of business (he's in the blue and white shorts)
This photo was taken by Mike Calimbas,

Q. Congratulations on your first MMA fight and your first win!  I'd like to take a look back from the beginning.  When did you start training?  Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, MMA
A. I started training at Elite MMA in September of 2009, I started off with cardio kickboxing, then moved up to BJJ, did MMA before I did a kickboxing class. Kind of went in a weird direction. Haha.

Q. At what point in your training did you know that you wanted to get in the cage?
A. I knew that I wanted to fight even before I found Elite. I wanted to be a boxer but ended up finding something much more intense. Finally got inside the cage, and I loved it.

Q. Do you have any specific short term goals in BJJ?  MMA?
A. I don't really have any short term goals, but in BJJ I want to win a tournament in both Gi and Nogi. For MMA, I want another fight.

Q. What are your long term goals in BJJ?  MMA?
A. Now for long term goals, in BJJ I want my purple belt, then get my brown, and getting my black. It's a long journey for that, but I'm up for it. In MMA, I want my stand up to be just as good as my ground for I can be a well rounded fighter, my second long term goal in MMA is that I want to win the 145 belt.

Q. Will we see Adrian Yanez cross over to the professional fighting circuit in the near future?
A. If I think that my skills are good enough to go pro, then possibly yes, but I need so much training till then. It's a bigger level of competition, and I want to make sure that I can be at that level.

Q. Preparing for a fight is physically and mentally grueling work.  You are only 17 years old and a senior in high school.  Tell us how you managed your high school schedule and training and how did you prepare yourself mentally for the fight?
A. It was a little rough, not too much. I just had to get a little more headaches and study harder and train twice as hard. I'm almost out of school, and this month I'm a be 18, so I have to be able to deal with these types of thing like nothing, because I'm a be working while I am trying to accomplish my goals. But everything is just mental and I thank my family (family includes Elite) for making me mentally tougher and stronger to take on the world.

Q. What advice can you give those out there who might be thinking about getting in the cage to fight? 
A. All the advice I can give is to stay cool, calm, and collected; and be dedicated to wanting to go through the training for the fight. Like my coaches tell me, "the fight is won during the training, not the actual fight".

Q. BJJ is my passion, so I always want to know...what's your favorite submission and go to move? 
A. Oh my. I absolutely love the triangle and the loop choke. The triangle is my go to move for submission in Nogi, and in Gi, the loop choke is my go to move. The loop choke, best and sneakiest choke I know, I have got Jordan, Julian, and Robert in the choke, but never able to finish... :( haha.

Q. You are only 17 years old, but you already have a very disciplined work ethic when it comes to your training.   What motivates you to keep going and what helps keep you on the right track?   Is there anyone that inspires you or someone that has been a big influence on your decision to train BJJ/MMA?
A. What motivates me to keep going is that I want to be a little role model for my little cousins and show them that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. The thing that inspires me to keep going further is my coaches and my family. My coaches are doing what they love almost everyday and one day I want that's what I want for me.

Q. It has been my pleasure to watch your transformation over the past 2 years.  I am honored to know you and train with you.  What would you consider the biggest life change as a result of your training?
A. My biggest life change, it would have to be getting healthier and eating right. I love were I'm at today. I feel great, my self confidence is way higher. Also, I like the fact that I've become more mature as this "transformation" happened. All that I have to thank is my family at home and at Elite.

Q. Where do you see yourself in the BJJ and MMA community in 10 years?
A. 10 years from now, I see myself as a great BJJ black belt from Elite MMA. I see myself as a Pro fighter that is very well rounded. I want everybody to be scared when they see that they are facing a person from Elite, whether it's a MMA fight or BJJ tournament. I can contribute to that by training hard, receiving and sharing knowledge, and pushing my team mates when they need it. All this will get me were I want to be in 10 years.

Q. Since you are only 17, I can't ask you about your jiu jitsu ink, so tell us something else about Adrian Yanez that we don't know.  What kind of music do you like, movies, sports, any other interests you might have? 
A. Hahaha, soon I can get some jiu jitsu ink. Pretty much, all I like to do is something that has to do with MMA. I absolutely love the sport. I like any type of music, just the type I can train too. Haha. The only other interest I have is boxing and some football, but I like to stay within a combat sport.

Mrs. Ibarra: As a woman and a mother of a daughter who also trains BJJ, I am thankful for a training environment like Elite where we are empowered and supported by our extended jiu jitsu family.  I would like to personally thank you for being such a huge supporter of mine over the last 2 years.   I am looking forward to great things from Adrian Yanez, on and off the mat. 
Adrian Yanez: Thank you for this opportunity and supporting me. You've been nothing but great to me. I am grateful for everything you have done for me.
Adrian with his coaches after his win.
This photo was taken by Mike Calimbas,

I really enjoy writing about my BJJ experiences and I didn't think it would ever be anything other than writing about my own experiences.  But the longer I immerse myself in this sport, the more I understand how much I can learn from the experiences from others...even a 17 year old high school kid.  He's pretty amazing and I look forward to the day when he's a black belt and I can stand in the line with him....and I will be thinking...I remember when...and I will be smiling because I got to be a part of his journey.  Thank you Adrian!

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