UFC on FOX 8: Yaotzin Meza Chasing First Octagon Win, Believes John Albert Will be at his “Most Dangerous”
By Timothy Gilbert
Yaotzin Meza’s introduction into the UFC may not have gone the way he always planned. He was initiated into the organization through a spur of the moment fight proposal against Chad Mendes. He accepted, and was fighting one of the best featherweights in the world less than one week later.
He was backstage with fellow MMA Lab training partner Benson Henderson, before the weigh-ins of Henderson’s match against Nate Diaz, when the opportunity presented itself.
“He came up to us and said he was looking for a 145 pounder and Ben looks right at me and said Yaddi will take the fight,” Meza said.
The UFC had finally offered him the deal of a lifetime and Meza immediately accepted.
“They needed someone and I just stepped right up,” he said.
“When you get a chance like that you’ve got to take it. You’ve got to roll the dice and go for it,” he said. “That was my opportunity and a lot of people had said no, but I had to say yes because you never know when that opportunity is going to come,”
“So we took it on a six day notice.”
He was knocked out in 1:55 of the first round. A disappointing start, even though the only man to ever defeat Mendes is current featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
This time, with over ten weeks to prepare, Meza expects his second appearance under the UFC banner to go much differently. He has dropped down to the bantamweight division, has a full training camp and is fighting a much more compatible opponent.
He will face off against John Albert on July 27 at the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington at UFC on Fox 8. And even though Albert, a former competitor on The Ultimate Fighter 14, has been defeated in his last three matches, Meza thinks this will only make him fight harder.
“I know I’m going to get him at his most dangerous” he said. “He’s going to put on a good fight because we never know what’s going to happen to him if he loses this next one.”
He spoke for his opponent with a sense of confidence and positivity, as Meza enters the bout from a very similar perspective.
“I’m coming off of a loss too so we’re both going to be doing what we have to do to win.”
And while Albert has already obtained his first UFC win, knocking out Dustin Pague at The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale, it is something Meza is desperate to achieve.
“Your first win in the UFC is big. It builds up your confidence and you know you belong here once you beat someone you know is tough.”
This confidence and mental reassurance is critical to the success of many professional mixed martial artists. Renowned fighters such as Michael Bisping and Georges St. Pierre have been known to consult sport psychologist to get their mind settled before a big fight.
But Meza claims he has moved on from his loss and is ready to fight again.
“When you come off a loss it’s always behind your head when you go in there. The only thing I’ve got to do is just stay focused. My last fight is already in the past I can’t sit around and think about it. It’s over with,” he said.
“I’m going to take the middle of the cage and just go.”
Even though Meza’s introduction into the UFC lasted less than two minutes, this time he is fully prepared to be in there for the duration.
“I always go into a fight knowing it’s going to be war for fifteen minutes.”
Through his training at The MMA Lab in Glendale, Arizona Meza has constantly been around high-level competition. He is a work out partner of current UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson. And with the backing of his camp, Meza has formulated a game plan he is confident he can enact.
“I can picture it going by a submission in the second round,” he said.
He’s only a few weeks away from the biggest fight of his career, and yet Yaotzin Meza is approaching it calmly and professionally, preparing himself for the battle that awaits him. And even though he has a current champion in his corner, Meza knows it is on him to get the job done.
“At the end of the day I’m the one who has to go in there and perform” he said.
“It’s just me and him going in there.”