HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - This Sunday, Yancy Medeiros is looking to make a statement in the UFC's welterweight division by defeating one of the sport's most popular fighters, Donald Cerrone.
After finishing Alex Oliveira back at UFC 218, Medeiros is looking to take out another cowboy this weekend in Texas in Cerrone and put his name in the conversation as a possible title contender at 170 pounds.
Since losing to Francisco Trinaldo at lightweight, the Waianae native has found some success at a more natural weight, winning three-straight fights, including a rear-naked choke over Sean Spencer and back-to-back TKO finishes over Erick Silva and Oliveira.
"I just think the move up in the weight classes is just a lack of a strain for me in every aspect - emotionally, physically, financially," Medeiros said in an interview with Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour. "I mean, if I was making (Conor) McGregor money, i would hire a nutritionist and make that 155. I'd be in tip-top shape. But Hawaii is expensive, Hawaiians love to eat and I ain't got that type of money."
In his first main event this Sunday, Medeiros can earn his fourth-straight win inside the Octagon and possibly a Top-10 opponent en route to a title shot.
"I feel like I need to be at the top, and I'm gonna strive to be there," he said. "I train with the best martial artists in the world and world champs. I just feel that this is my calling, this is my time, and they're gonna give me this situation. Everyone is out there talking what they deserve, what they need, what they want to get paid and all that, and I'm just here talking with my hands. And the UFC is gonna keep giving me these opportunities and I'm gonna keep swinging."
But standing in Medeiros' way is Cerrone, who is in desperate need of a win after losing three-straight fights including a devastating TKO loss to rising star, Darren Till back in October.
While there were rumors of a possible return to the lightweight division, Cerrone finds himself in a tough place against Medeiros, who is as game of a fighter as there is in the UFC.
"I'm expecting the best Donald Cerrone there is … yes, he lost three times but he lost three hammers, three good fighters man," he said. "Three top contenders. I'm not taking anything away from Donald."
One thing that Medeiros guarantees from this Sunday's main event is that even if he doesn't come out the victor, he still plans to put on a show for his fans like he did back in December.
"The last fight, the plan wasn't to block all those punches with my face. But I feel like I'm a lot more durable. Not that I like to take punches, but I can take it, but I can dish it out also," he said.
If he wins, Medeiros looks to become a key player in the UFC' future.
" I just feel at welterweight, last year I wanted to show the UFC and everybody in the welterweight that i'm relevant. That I belong in the weight class," he said. "This year, I want to make moves and show the UFC that I'm here to be an investment, not an asset. I want to be an investment to this company and this is the type of moves they gonna do."
Medeiros will take on Cerrone this Sunday in the main event of UFC Fight Night 126 on FSI.