By: King Eddie
At UFC 159, another of Hawaii's fighters will make his UFC debut. Yancy Medeiros has long been a leading personality here in the Hawaii MMA arena, and now after a lengthy layoff, he is taking his presence to the biggest stage. Many will focus on his transformation from Light Heavyweight to Middleweight to lightweight, but there are other aspects to his transformation that are much more meaningful than just the weight.
Yancy was a young and hungry fighter just like many here in Hawaii. He took what was put in front of him, and made the most of it. His first defining moment came when he faced Po'ai Suganuma. If you were a betting man, odds were, on that night, your money wasn't in the corner of Medeiros. But against the odds, Yancy battled through one of the toughest fighters that Hawaii had to offer, and put his name on the map. From that point on, he had set a very strong tone.
Fight after fight, Yancy proved himself worthy of his champion title. Inside and outside of the cage, Medeiros was viewed as a leader. It was no surprise when he finally got the call to compete in Strikeforce. Many thought it was Yancy's big chance. As he entered the televised promotion, Yancy took with him the same humble mentality that he had come to be loved for here on the islands. In his very first bout, once again with the odds against him, Medeiros shined brighter than ever. Even moving on to a second Strikeforce appearance in which he finished his opponent seemingly with ease.
At that point in his career, everyone could tell that Yancy certainly knew how to win. But after suffering a career threatening injury, Yancy's resolve was truly tested. It's never easy to be out of action when you are a pro fighter. It's even worse when thoughts of "career ending" cycle through your head. But Yancy proved his mental fortitude and used his down time to re-evaluate his lifestyle.
After many changes in diet and workout regimine, Yancy was fortunate enough to be taken under the wing of the Diaz Brothers. His transformation since then has been incalcuable. And leading into this UFC debut, it really shows. Yancy made weight with ease, and managed to have a smile on his face while doing so. At the weigh-ins for UFC 159, Medeiros appeared to be right at home. His mind and body have found a medium in which both function at optimum levels. His spirit is stronger than ever, and his heart filled with pride for the love and support of his fellow Hawaii residents.
When the cage door closes at UFC 159, the smiley and lovable Yancy Medeiros that we all know will fade, but the well oiled machine that he has created will remain. There is no way to determine the outcome, but if mental and physical preparation account for anyting, Yancy is clearly already ahead on the scorecards.
As yet another of our great fighters becomes a great leader and role model, we all swell with pride as a MMA Hawaii family. We've witnessed yet another of our sons grow into a man who has followed his dreams to the highest level. Congratulations Yancy, we are all so very proud of you.