Zabit Magomedsharipov became a real sensation in the United States. Unknown to the local public, a guy from Dagestan quickly got used to the Absolute Fighting Championship (UFC). “Lenta.ru” talked with Magomedsharipov, who did not know the defeats in the promotion, in order to inquire in more detail about his path in sports, style in combat and plans for the future.
– The original duel against Cattar was planned in Boston. But as we know, everything has changed dramatically. How unexpected was it for you to participate in the Moscow tournament when the card was actually already formed?
– Yes, I had to fight in Boston. But already on the plane Moscow – New York, before the final stage of preparation I felt very bad. Most likely, he brought himself some kind of infection. I myself wanted to go to battle, but the coaches decided it was better to agree to the transfer. The problem is that I have been prescribed antibiotics – while you are taking them, you can’t train. Yes, you yourself understand: after antibiotics, serious weakness sets in.
We asked for a transfer. They didn’t mean anything concrete. But I am very glad that this happened. I have already said that I really want to fight in Moscow – there is tremendous support. Yes, I understand that I will be more worried. There will be pressure.
– Follow Kattar’s comments about the upcoming fight?
– Oh, I honestly don’t follow this. What did he say there?
– Nothing criminal. Just a funny observation: according to Cattar, if he performed what you demonstrate in the octagon, the trainer would have yelled at him. Do you and your mentor have, so to speak, creative disputes over techniques in combat?
– No, not the other way around. The coach encourages, asks just to do what I get. Why not? What people like, we are trying to do. To do this, and go into the octagon.
– That is, they are not trying to limit you?
– On the contrary. Ask for more imagination!
– Tell us in detail about your arsenal of tricks. Is this a set of already mastered techniques or are you striving to learn something new before each fight? And where does it come from?
– In a cell, it’s far from always possible to show everything you want. There are guys with whom you need to work easier. In general, we are working on a lot of things – in training, in sparring. There are a lot of things. I hope in Moscow it will turn out to show.
– And where do ideas and techniques come from? Maybe watch a movie, action movies …
– No, I don’t take anything from the movie. What the coach will show, I repeat. And according to Qatar, there is already a concrete plan for how to work. The first two rounds I will follow him. And in the third we’ll see. Maybe we’ll try something.
– Are you in New Jersey right now?
– Yes, now is the final stage of preparation. Here is Ricardo Almeida, Mark Henry, with me and Mansur Uchakayev. We’ve been here for almost a month and a half (a conversation with Magomedsharipov took place on October 6 – approx. “Lenti.ru”). The first training camp was in Dagestan, then went to Thailand. Then the story of the infection happened. The UFC asked to fly to Las Vegas to show their doctors. Then they told me that you can’t train. As a result, two weeks of rest, the transfer of battle. He returned here to Ricardo Almeida – here is our team, many good sparring partners: Eddie Alvarez, Frankie Edgar, Ramazan Kuramagomedov.
– Was there an opportunity at the very beginning of the American stage of his career to settle not in Jersey, but in California, at the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA)? As far as I understand, you are communicating with Khabib Nurmagomedov and his teammates.
– Yes, the opportunity really was. But in New Jersey there were already guys with whom I worked before. Timur Valiev, for example (Valiev began performing in the United States back in 2014 – approx. “Lenti.ru”). Yes, and many others, of those with whom I previously worked. And since I had never been to America before, I went, it turns out, to my own. And with sparring partners everything is in order. When I arrived, I saw the same Alvarez, Edson Barbosa trained, Marlon Moraes. Now they have left, but then it turned out that there are a lot of upscale guys with whom you can work. Anyway, I really like it here. Nothing to regret.
– Mark Henry at the very beginning of your career in the USA has already highly praised you in the media. In an interview with Joe Rogan, he read you the championship belt. And in personal communication, he often praises you?
– Yes, he often gives compliments. He praises not only me. He trains, sets up the guys, repeats that we can become champions.
– And how are things now with learning English?
– Yes, good! Already better, much better. In training, I calmly communicate. But, of course, when the camera appears, it becomes a little uncomfortable, uneasy.
– In one of the interviews, you noticed that you communicate with Mark Henry in your own language. Can you explain?
– Well, it turns out we have our own code. That he prompted me from the corner. And he already knows a lot of Russian words. This is also so that other foreigners do not understand what Mark tells me during fights. He already has whole sheets covered with our code words …
– Which UFC fighter is an example to you in terms of behavior outside the octagon?
– Well no. Anyone who speaks calmly does not chat. In general, those who do not allow themselves too much. It’s hard to name anyone. But in general, I think there are more good guys than bad guys.
– There is a video where you spend friendly sparring with Abdulrashid Sadulayev. Tell us what makes this athlete special? First-hand information is interesting.
– In general, I repeatedly fought with him when the training camp in Dagestan took place. He is a very powerful and explosive fighter – he managed to feel it. I see how this man is training. And not only Abdulrashid, and other fighters. Great athlete makes work. It is necessary to plow a lot, to train in order to reach such a level. Yes, and he once again proved that he is the strongest. By the way, congratulated him. We try to keep in touch.
– Abdulrashid himself is not too spread about the transition to MMA. Do you see him in the octagon?
– A person must make such decisions himself. In general, why not? In MMA there are enough people from the struggle. Show good results. But Sadulaev only needs to be protected from punches, kicks. He has every chance.
– And how would you explain the phenomenon of Dagestan fighters?
– I don’t know, we love this business. Every second, probably in Dagestan, is an athlete. Maybe through sports people want to get on their feet, I don’t know.
– The UFC has twice chosen Moscow for the tournament. One tournament was held in St. Petersburg. Don’t you think that an organization should expand its geography?
– Yes, you can safely spend in Dagestan, why not? I think Sochi will pull the UFC tournament.
– Would you take part in a battle like Koklyaev – Emelianenko, purely for the show?
– No, I don’t think I would agree to that. Everyone understands that this is only a show, there is very little sport in this. I can understand those who want to look at it, the eternal debate, who is stronger – a jock or a boxer. And Alexander and Mikhail are actively promoting their battle. But I myself would hardly have participated in such an event.
– Are there any fighters in the UFC for the sake of a fight with which you would have risen in weight?
– If I could lift in weight, I would perform in a different category. My working weight is optimal for the featherweight division. While I and my weight have enough opponents, a potential fight with which I would be interested.