If you want to improve your ground game, there is arguably no better place than the Russian republic which is home to the likes of Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Dagestan is currently the destination for recently-crowned 135lbs ruler Yan, who shared images of himself on Twitter and Instagram after training sessions in the city of Khasavyurt.

“Having [a] great time training wrestling in Dagestan,” wrote Yan, who in one image appeared alongside fellow UFC fighter Mairbek Taisumov.    

Yan secured bantamweight gold at UFC 251 on Fight Island in July, stopping veteran Brazilian legend Jose Aldo in the fifth round of their contest. 

‘No Mercy’ is set to face Jamaican-American contender Aljamain Sterling in his first title defense, and his rival was quick to take a shot at him over his Dagestan training camp.

“No matter how much of it you [train], it will not be the same. My style is different from traditional wrestling. You will understand this in the first exchange,” warned Sterling, whose five-fight hot streak has earned him a shot at Yan. 

He followed up the barb with a post detailing his own training routine at the UFC’s Performance Institute in Las Vegas. 

Yan did not restrict his response to Sterling but instead fired a warning to the entire 135lbs ranks, claiming he was burnishing his ground game to rule over the division. 

“I’m not training to fight you, I’m training to dominate whole division,” wrote the Russian. 

“I respect the machismo. See you soon,” came Sterling’s reply.   

The exchange was representative of the largely respectful tone both fighters have pursued ahead of their expected match-up, potentially later this year. 

Siberian Yan, 27, is unbeaten in seven UFC outings since joining the promotion in June of 2018. 

Speaking on Fight Island after his victory over Aldo, Yan named Sterling as the man he wants to face next. 

I think Aljamain Sterling deserves to fight for the title. He’s on a good streak. He beat a lot of good guys,” said the Russian.  

Yan’s trainer John Hutchinson told RT Sport that he believes his charge has better boxing skills than those of Conor McGregor, famed for his own dynamite hands. 

And if Yan is polishing his wrestling game to the standards set in Dagestan, it may well make him an even more formidable force for his bantamweight rivals.   

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