HomeUFCRani Yahya: A Man on a Mission

Rani Yahya: A Man on a Mission

Read about Rani Yahya’s journey in mixed martial arts and his upcoming fight against Victor Henry. Discover how Yahya has overcome challenges and his determination to achieve success in the UFC.

| Rani Yahya is a two-decade veteran of mixed martial arts and has been a part of the UFC roster since 2011.
| Yahya aims to have better results in his upcoming fights and considers his longevity in the UFC as a form of success.
| He has faced physical health problems but regained confidence and continues to pursue his career.
| Victor Henry, his opponent, has both strengths and weaknesses that Yahya plans to exploit.
| Yahya wants to make the most of his remaining time in the sport and achieve his goals.

Staying power might be Rani Yahya’s most admirable calling card. A two-decade veteran of mixed martial arts, the American Top Team rep has been presented and accounted for on the Ultimate Fighting Championship roster since 2011. Yahya will draw his latest assignment inside the Octagon when he toes the line against Victor Henry in the featured UFC on ESPN 55 prelim this Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. He turns 40 in September.

“I always look to have a healthy lifestyle,” Yahya told Sherdog.com. “I have good habits in my personal life and in training. Jiu-jitsu is a fight style that allows for more career longevity. Compared to most fighters in the world who wish to get into the UFC, I’ve held this position for a long time. I consider that a form of success. As athletes, we’re never satisfied. We always want more. I would have liked to have gone further in my career. In these next few fights, I aim to have results which exceed what I’ve done previously.”

His tenure in the sport’s premier organization has included its share of speed bumps, especially of late. Injuries have forced Yahya out of scheduled matches with Cody Garbrandt (twice) and Heili Alateng. “Over the last few years, I’ve had some physical health problems,” he said. “I had to stop fighting for a while to undergo treatments. I had an issue with my neck—a hernia. I considered retirement, but as I was rehabbing, I regained confidence. I felt I could fight again. At this time in my career, at my age, my goal is to step in the Octagon [while] doing well in every facet: physical, mental and emotional. I want to be truly well. Everything needs to be interacting well, including the spiritual aspect. That’s why I haven’t fought as frequently.”

Henry, a former Deep titleholder, serves as his latest test. The 36-year-old Josh Barnett protégé has rattled off 11 wins across his past 14 outings. Henry last suited up at UFC 294, where his encounter with Javid Basharat ended in a painful no contest due to an accidental kick to the groin in the second round. “He is very complete,” Yahya said. “I think he tends to prefer striking. He’s constantly moving. He kicks often. He’s also very experienced, but there are holes in his game which I plan to explore. Victor has great stamina, but he does have gaps both standing and on the ground. On the ground, Victor hasn’t faced anyone with my caliber. I’m feeling very confident I’ll be the winner.”

A decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who struck gold at the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Fighting World Championships in 2007, Yahya understands he no longer has the benefit of time being on his side. He wants to accomplish as much as he can with the gas he has left in the tank. “It’s been an honor to remain in the sport after so many years,” he said. “This is my mission and what I love to do.”

This article first appeared on Sherdog and was syndicated with permission.