It’s fight week for Makaha’s own Yancy Medeiros.
The 15th-ranked welterweight will headline UFC Fight Night 126 on Sunday in Austin, Texas against future Hall-of-Fame candidate Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
“It’s like the sets are up in surfing. The sets are up, it’s coming, and composure is the biggest thing. Composure and proper training and I feel that this is a big opportunity for me to really implement myself in the UFC welterweight division and you know, show them that I’m ready. I’m ready for that top contenders and the gold,” Medeiros told KHON2 sports reporter Sam Spangler prior to leaving for Texas.
The 30-year old has won four of his last five fights dating back to 2015 and has gone 3-0 since moving up from lightweight to 170 pounds.
The winning streak has earned him his first career top-15 ranking and increased popularity, evident by becoming just the fourth Hawaii fighter to ever headline a UFC event, joining Hilo’s BJ Penn, Waianae’s Max Holloway, and Kapolei’s Louis Smolka.
“I’m happy, man. Feb. 18, I’ll be ready. Everybody’s asking me, are you ready for the fight? Are you ready? I will be ready, Hawaii. I will be ready,” said Medeiros.
Meanwhile, Cerrone is ranked 11th in the division as a former four-time championship contender between his time in the UFC and WEC. Of his 32 career victories, 19 of them have come in the UFC, which is third most in organization history just one win away from tying former champions Georges St-Pierre and Michael Bisping.
Cerrone has long been considered a “people’s champion” athlete with a cult-like following in the sport, which is a moniker that has rapidly been attached to Medeiros, leaving many to label the headliner as a passing-of-the-torch opportunity for the Hawaiian.
“It was a short-notice fight. I actually wanted to fight on Max’s card on March 3 and they were like, ‘We’ll give you Cerrone Feb. 18 in Austin, main event,’ and I was like, ‘I’m your huckleberry.’ You know? Give it to me,” Medeiros said. “Like I said, I’m just riding this wave and I feel just so motivated and so inspired to keep it going. I love the support. I love the training that I’ve been involved in and the people that I’ve been around. It’s been tremendous, and it’s just keeping me motivated to keep going and keep driving.”
Sunday’s main event will mark the second straight fight against an opponent nicknamed “Cowboy” for Medeiros, after beating Charles Oliveira by TKO this past December.
Recently, KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello and Medeiros agreed that with a victory on Sunday, Medeiros would have earned the nickname of “Paniolo,” which is the Hawaiian word for Cowboy.
“I have much respect for ‘Cowboy.’ This fight is built around respect. We’re both trying to take everything the other man has in the cage. I want to take it all from him. Outside of the cage, it’s all good,” said Medeiros.
As of Monday, Yancy is a +250 underdog.
UFC Fight Night 126 main card starts at 4 p.m. HST on Sunday and will be televised on Fox Sports 1.