Desiree 'Dirty Dez' Yanez has been waiting for over one year now to step back into the octagon on a grand stage. The tough and passionate fighter has had three fights canceled on her in the past year because of Covid-19 and the impact that the virus has had on the sports world. Yanez is ready to put 2020 behind her and look ahead to a new year where she should be lacing up the gloves soon.
“It has definitely been frustrating,” Yanez said. “The last fight I did get paid my show money so I can't complain too much, but it's still very frustrating. It's not even really about the money at this point. I do this because I love it and I'm really ready to get into the ring and show people what I've learned in the past year and what I've progressed at.”
Yanez admits that parts of her last year have been depressing and she had to battle with herself sometimes to make sure she does not get complacent in her training. Not all is bad, though, as Yanez has recently signed to one of the biggest combat sport promotions in the world – Bellator.
“It's very sad that everything has been canceled for me but when I got that call from Bellator and got to meet all of the people from there, I was ecstatic,” Yanez said.
Bellator takes its name from the Latin word for 'Warrior'. After battling her way to be signed by a large promotion, continuously training to improve, and showing that nothing is going to get in the way of her goals – a Warrior is precisely what Yanez should be referred to as.
Yanez' first fight for Bellator was slated to be against Veta Arteaga in the flyweight division in late October. However, the night before the fight, Arteaga tested positive for the virus and the fight was called off. Yanez was getting ready for bed when she received a FaceTime call from her coach with the bad news.
“I was thinking maybe he just wants to go over the gameplan really quick for the morning or something like that,” she said. “He ended up asking if he could come to my room and talk to me and right away I knew something had happened. Sure enough, they came in my room and told me that Vita tested positive for Covid.”
Her initial reaction was to see if there was any other options, such as re-testing her, but there would not have been enough time to get the results back.
Yanez has continued to train non-stop during those almost 400 days in anticipation of the next time that she will be able to get after an opponent. The last time that she was able to actually fight, the Big Spring native lost a controversial split decision to Melissa Martinez. Since then, Yanez has vowed to not leave it up to the judges to decide a winner.
Her passion can be heard through the way she talks about fighting and is displayed by the way she has improved in all aspects of her training. Now that there is a vaccine beginning to be distributed, things should begin returning to normal and Yanez should find herself on a Bellator card in the next few months.
After spending so much time away from a professional bout, there is a chance that Yanez could be rusty or nervous about her new promotion. At least that's what she hopes her future opponent will think.
“I'm sure people are going to think that I'm going to come back rusty or that the nerves are going to get to me,” Yanez said. “I've been working hard all-year and I feel like I'm a completely different fighter now. At the end of the day, none of that matters. All that matters is who shows up that day. I feel like I've been in camp all year. I feel good and I'm ready to go today if I could.”
Yanez says she has improved her striking, footwork, and everything in-between. With more than a year to focus on strengthening her biggest weaknesses and becoming even better in some areas, it will be exciting to see how she performs the next time she can get in the ring.
Her first Bellator fight brought a bit of a new experience for Yanez as she had to go through a much easier weight cut than she ever has in the past after moving up a weight class. Because of this, she is not worried about the next weigh-in she will have and knows that it will come easy for her.
With a large following of fans already and a new wave of Bellator fans set to crash in soon, Yanez has a message for everyone that has been set to tune-in to see one of her fights over the past year and for her potential new fans going forward.
“Don't stop watching me and don't sleep on me. I'm coming. I know it's been a long while but all this rage and all of this knowledge is going to come out eventually. I'm not saying that I'm going to win, because I'm not a cocky fighter whatsoever, but I am saying that I'm going to put on the show of a lifetime. Whether it comes out a victory or not, it's going to be an amazing show. I have a lot to prove and a lot to show from what I've learned. I'm ready to put my hands on somebody. It sounds strange, but I'm not ready to get paid, I'm ready to fight. I love to fight and I'm so ready to make someone bleed.”
Yanez is approaching her next fight with a no mercy mindset and should be a force for other Bellator fighters to fear in 2021. Trust her, you will not want to miss her next fight.
Shawn Moran is the sports writer at the Big Spring Herald. To contact him, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 432-263-7331.