I have been on the mats and around the cage for more than 20 years as both competitor and coach. I was a high school wrestler when I was first introduced to the legendary Popovitch Family. What a blessing it was, as I would go on to train directly under Master Jorge Popovitch and his son, the world renowned Pablo Popovitch. These two men introduced me to the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It was their detailed instruction and their open manner of sharing techniques that I attribute to the success of our methods today at Highlander MMA Tampa.
As a member of Team Popovitch I traveled and competed regularly at some of the more prestigious tournaments of the era and would go on to earn my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Black Belt from Master Jorge and Pablo Popovitch!
Having competed in Wrestling, BJJ and MMA, I know the depth of positive influence Coaches and Mentors have in the lives of those to whom they provide leadership. Through the creation of Highlander MMA Tampa I continue representing the Popovitch Lineage as I pass on their lessons in both the fighting science and in the capacity as a mentor.
Over the years we have proven our recipe works, as we have been blessed to produce many high level competitors, some who have gone on to fight in the largest MMA promotion in the world! We continue our mission, creating great fighters to keep Mixed Martial Arts in Tampa represented on the big stage!
"Earning my black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from legendary world champion Pablo Popovitch and his father Jorge Popovitch – I firmly believe that my training qualifications and career résumé speak for themselves; no trainer wins 101 of his first 131 fights on a fluke. The Mixed Martial Arts are my one true passion, and I’m 100% dedicated to transforming dedicated fighters into unstoppable world champions." -Mike Yanez
"A rising superstar trainer like Mike Yanez don’t come around every day. It’s not just the lineage of his BJJ black belt that makes him so special – it’s his uncanny ability to motivate young talent, instill his technical mastery in his pupils, and develop a program that wins nearly 80% of its matches. Look, there might not be any shortcuts to success in this sport, but Yanez sure makes the path a heck of a lot shorter." -MMA JUNKIE
"Mike is like a brother to me. He is a great coach and doing a fantastic job in Tampa. To have so many successful students brings me great joy." - Pablo Popovitch