“In Moscow, I already fought, it’s not very interesting for me”
- There was no desire to speak at the November UFC tournament in Moscow?
- My last fight was unsuccessful (in August Kunchenko lost to Gilbert Burns by the decision of the judges - RT ), so now I organized the training camp, invited the guys to them, in particular the wrestling coach. Of course, there was a desire to speak in Moscow, but I want to work on the fight, because I lost Burns in this component. Therefore, I did not want to rush to speak in Moscow on a short notice. Another thing is if the match in the capital would have been planned in advance. Moreover, in Moscow I already fought last year and this is not particularly interesting to me. I would like to go into the octagon in other countries.
- For example?
- October 26 will be the evening of the UFC in Singapore, but again, I will not have time to prepare for it. The best thing is to return in December. By this time I will have time. I want to take part in the UFC Fight Night 165 in South Korea. But these are my plans, and I can’t say what they decide in the promotion.
- So you decided to take a strategic break? The same Peter Jan recently announced that he wants to fight before the end of the year.
“Well, it was the last time he went into the octagon on June 8, then he had an operation and was recovering.” Peter had enough time. He is already bored, it is not surprising that he wants to return, because five or six months of downtime is not too good. As a rule, a couple of months is enough to recover and prepare for the next fight.
"In America they think that we have bears running along the roads."
- How important is the fact that the UFC will hold the third tournament in the country for Russia ?
- This is very important both for young people and for professionals. UFC - ahead of the rest. For us, the decision to promote tournaments in Russia was a small shock. The organization of such events will only benefit our market. The popularity of MMA in the country is growing. This is an impetus for the development of mixed martial arts in Russia. People begin to come to be engaged, at least simply for themselves, and professionals have the opportunity to get into the UFC. This is the strongest motivation to work in the hall. Finally, children will be carried away not by gadgets, but by sports and will become strong and healthy.
- Ian said that it is not easy for Russians in the UFC, because we are not always taken seriously there. Do you agree?
- I did not have any difficulties. There is only a language barrier, but if a person who knows English is next to you, this problem is automatically solved. I practically don’t speak English and sometimes I can’t explain something. But in extreme cases, you can use the online translator on your phone.
Generally speaking, it’s better to learn the language because the audience loves when you speak. And if you had a fight and said nothing, because you don’t know the language, no one will pay attention to you. In the UFC, all conversations are conducted in English, and you must understand everything, communicate with fighters, fans.
- What problems are still worth saying?
- Another unpleasant moment is that the UFC will not conduct tournaments so often in Russia, since they do not attract too many spectators across the ocean. When we have evening, there is night, and everyone sleeps while we fight. Broadcasts of Russian tournaments in America are not selling well. People there will not wake up early in the morning to look at the Russian soldier.
“After all, they think that we walk in the snow all year round, and bears run out onto the roads.” I am really asked such questions. So I answer: "Yes, they really run." But we strive to make ourselves known. Now the third UFC tournament will take place in Russia, new stars light up, such as Yan, Magomedsharipov. They appear in a new market and throw up pretty good fights, which attracts foreign audiences.
“Everyone wants to make money fighting Habib.”
- Before the fight with Dustin Porrier, you called Khabib Nurmagomedov the best athlete in the country.
“I can repeat it again.” Habib once again defended the UFC championship belt. What else does he have to prove? Moreover, he wins all battles ahead of schedule, including with Conor McGregor. The same Porrier was preparing for so much time, and Nurmagomedov simply “demolished” it. No one can do anything about it.
- Someone in the UFC can make him a real competition?
“I don’t know, Justin Gatgy is trying something ... Everyone wants to make money fighting Habib, because he is very popular.” For some reason, nobody used to want to fight with him. At the moment, I can’t say who can defeat Habib in lightweight. Perhaps if he goes to the welterweight, it will be more difficult for him, it’s physically difficult there.
- But what about Tony Ferguson?
- I do not think that the American is so dangerous for him. Ferguson constantly goes forward, beating opponents with his bones, because he is very thin. But to transfer Tony to the stalls is very easy, because he is not a freestyle. And I don’t believe that Ferguson will cause Nurmagomedov’s damage in the stalls. I am sure Habib will win. Ferguson is patient and crazy, but Habib will very clearly control the course of the battle and will not give the opponent the opportunity to do anything. Nurmagomedov is capable of completing the match ahead of schedule, and even if this fails, his advantage will be very serious by points.
- Who do you consider the most powerful fighter, if you take all the weight categories?
- A very interesting style by Henry Sehudo. He is the Olympic champion in freestyle wrestling, but at the same time works well in the stance.
“He could have had an intriguing fight with Ian.”
- I would love to see this match.
- Do you personally have an opponent whom you would like to meet in the near future?
- Honestly, I try not to think of anything. If the UFC in the near future appoints me a fight, it will be good, because the promotion can delay this. Therefore, you do not have to choose an opponent. But I would fight with Jorge Masvidal. He knocked out Ben Ascren and immediately became popular, due to him I would have spun myself. In addition, he does not fight, but mainly works in a rack. I would also like to fight with Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, but he moved into the light weight category.