What Is Yan Xiaonan’s Fighting Style? Early Life, Training, All About the MMA Background of UFC Star

Published 04/06/2024, 12:51 PM EDT

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After #1 ranked UFC strawweight Yan Xiaonan beat Jessica Andrade at UFC 288 in the first round, she was expecting a big fight next. However, even she was pleasantly surprised to learn that she would be taking on Zhang Weili for the 115-pound title.

Not only will her next fight, her first UFC title shot, be significant for her personally, but will be historic in more ways than one. It will be the first all-Chinese title fight in UFC history, a testament to the strides the country has taken in the sport of MMA, and will take place on the main card of the UFC 300 anniversary mega-card on April 13. Ahead of this all-important fight, we take a look at her fighting style and martial arts background.

Yan Xiaonan’s fighting style and background


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Yan Xiaonan fell in love with martial arts at a young age, which her father nurtured and started training her in martial arts at a very young age. By the age of sixteen, after training in China, the Liaoning native had decided that she wanted to be a fighter3.

She started attending the Xi’an Sports University where she trained and competed in Sanda, a traditional Chinese martial art based upon self-defense and combat sport4. Eventually, she excelled and started competing in MMA in 20093.


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She took a break from MMA 2010-15 as there were not many opportunities for MMA in China at that time. She was able to put together a respectable 17-3-0 (W-L-D) record before being signed by the UFC in 2017.

Xiaonan has an aggressive, relentless fighting style where she uses her sharp and quick striking to put pressure on her opponents. The 34-year-old prefers to keep the fight on the ground and is capable of generating power shots while putting a relentless pace on her opponents.

Zhang Weili’s more well-rounded game will be a challenge for Xiaonan, who prefers to strike with her opponents. And Xiaonan, like her upcoming compatriot and opponent, has worked very hard for her success.


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Yan Xiaonan’s training schedule

In an interview with UFC, Yan Xiaonan shed light on what a typical training day looks like for her. The strawweight fighter trains twice every day: in the morning and the afternoon. Her morning session is reserved for strength and conditioning, while she trains with other fighters in the afternoon.

Xiaonan prefers to spar a variety of fighters with different styles and strengths. While she mainly concentrates on honing her excellent striking in the gym, she trains grappling, submissions, and takedowns every day. A typical training session for her lasts around two to three hours, which means she trains anywhere between four to six hours every day.


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And all of her skills, abilities, training, and preparation will be tested in her upcoming fight against Zhang Weili, a victory over whom at the historic UFC 300 card has the potential to catapult her to the next level in terms of her popularity and professional profile. What are your predictions for UFC 300?


Written by:

Kanishk Thakur


One take at a time

Kanishk Thakur is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports with nearly 5 years of professional writing experience. Kanishk has expertly covered the heated rivalries of the fight game, and delivered meticulous reports of payouts of PPV events and Fight Nights, in addition to covering the personal side of fighters outside the sport. He is also an ardent Joe Rogan fan, who hopes to draw in more fans to the sport as Rogan did for him.
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Edited by:

Joyita Das