Bantamweight Rany Yahya has a personal reason to win when he takes on Luke Sanders at Saturday’s UFC Lincoln.
The 33-year-old recently shared with Combate that his mother passed away six months ago after a 30-year battle against lupus. In fact, the passing came right around the time Rani took on Russell Doane, a fight which he won by submission. Yahya explained that he even used the motivation to fight to overcome her passing.
“I’m definitely over it,” Yahya said. “The death of a mother is something really hard to digest, she’s a role model for us. She’s the woman we love. It was a really hard process. I have a way to deal with these things in a natural manner. It’s going to happen to everybody and, in her case, she was suffering a lot, so it was something we expected. I wasn’t expecting it when it happened, though, so I used all that motivation to overcome it at the time.
“My mom always supported me and was a fan of mine. After my (last) fight, I had to go through that entire acceptance process. Now it has been six months, so I deal with much better. It’s going to be another fight she’ll be watching from heaven, I hope I can make her proud.”
Should he pick up a win against Sanders, Yahya will find himself on a three-fight winning streak in the division, and he already envisions a challenge against the upper echelon of the weight class, with some well known names to boot.
“There’s Aljamain Sterling. Sean O’Malley is the only unranked guy I would like to fight. He’s undefeated and he’s been scoring some knockouts, he’s rising and the UFC wants to build him. There’s some other guys who are doing well, too, like Jimmie Rivera. Those guys who are up there,” Yahya said.
Rani Yahya is expected to meet Luke Sanders in the first preliminary bout of UFC Fight Night 135, on August 25th. The card will be headlined by a lightweight bout between Justin Gaethje and James Vick.