On October 21, there will be a UFC 294 tournament, featuring a number of Russian fighters. The event can be watched via UFC Fight Pass subscription. 30-year-old Ikram Aliskerov, who took the American league by storm in summer with a first-round knockout of Phil Hawes, will also be on the card that evening.
Aliskerov gave an exclusive interview to Telecomasia.net, talking about:
- a possible rematch with Khamzat Chimaev;
- changing of opponents before the tournament;
- why he would not challenge the UFC champion;
- the ambitions of Roman Kopylov;
- Alex Volkanovski and Charles Oliveira in comparison;
- Bobby Green's strengths and flaws.
"Abdulmanap used to say that you have to set high goals for yourself"
– Ikram, can you give any advice to Russian fighters on how to get into the UFC?
– As our late coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov used to say, stability beats class. You have to be stable. If you're always in shape and ready, you'll always open the doors to where you need to go.
– Did you interact with him personally a lot? What do you remember about him?
– Of course I did. I was at training camps with him so many times! He guided me in combat sambo, he even came out with me in some fights. He was so positive, wise and friendly. He was a fascinating person.
– Can you remember any of his life advice or a story about him?
– He always said that unless you set high goals for yourself, no one will set them for you. When I became a professional fighter, he always said: "You are a world champion". Abdulmanap loved sambo wrestlers. "You're a champion of Russia, world champion, you need to fight in the UFC." He instilled great ambition in me.
"I didn't understand how I ended up in the UFC"
– A year ago, did you believe that you would end up in the UFC and you would get top-5 opponents for your second fight?
– I was working towards it for a long time. When you strive for something, the Almighty gives you what you want. I worked consistently in the gym, trained steadily and it just happened, I didn't even realize how. And here I am in the UFC.
– Do you think that your signing has to do with the fact that the league management wants to see your rematch with Khamzat Chimaev?
– I've often thought about it myself. I think so. Among other things. When I was signed, Dana White said that this kid only has one defeat against Khamzat Chimaev. So he noticed it.
"A knockout in the first round is my goal for every fight"
– Did the constant changes of opponents make you nervous? Paolo Costa, Roman Dolidze, Nassourdine Imavov, now Warlley Alves.
– It's annoying. I can't say I was nervous. I treated it like an unpleasant part of the job. I wasn't not nervous or distressed.
– Did you have to make any drastic changes in training after Warlley Alves was assigned to the fight?
– I didn't have to change anything. You need to consider some things, there are always some nuances. Otherwise, no. The date is the same. The same hard work and preparation. Going into the fight with the intention of finishing it early. That's it.
– Do you want to knock Alves out in the first round?
– That's my goal for any fight, no matter the opponent - to not let it drag on until the end. But with that said, I have to be ready to go all three rounds.
– Are there any particular wishes, like "I want to win with a roundhouse kick or with a superman punch"?
– Preparing for a particular punch is a bad idea. When you put your mind to something concrete, it won't come, but it will always be something else. The right moment will eventually present itself.
"I'm ready to fight Costa in Brazil"
– Are you going to bring the Russian flag with you to Abu Dhabi?
– I don't have it with me, and we'll see what will happen.
– Who is the best among the Dagestani fighters, apart from Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov?
– Magomed Ankalaev. He is among the tops. He is probably the best in terms of results.
– I have little doubt you'll beat Alves, and after the fight you can say something along the lines of, "There's a weak champion in the UFC. Give him to me and I'll show you who the real champion is." That would've brought you hype in the promotion.
– You have to beat guys like that first before you can afford to say that. It's not right to ask for the belt after every fight. If I win the fight, I'll ask to face Paulo Costa. I want to fight him.
– He's an unreliable guy. He pulled out of five fights over the last few years.
– All the more interesting. I might even go to Brazil. I want to fight him.
– Because he's pulling out of fights. Maybe he wouldn't withdraw if the fight is held there.Bet on MMA with 1xBet
"I don't think Oliveira is any easier than Volkanovski"
– Islam Makhachev has had his opponent changed. He'll face Alex Volkanovski instead of Charles Oliveira. Is it a more competitive fight?
– Oliveira is not a weak opponent. Especially since he's been preparing. It's hard to tell the condition of Volkanovski right now. What has he been doing, has he been preparing? So I don't think Oliveira is any easier than Volkanovski. The Brazilian is also a strong fighter.
– Roman Kopylov is on a streak of four consecutive early wins in the middleweight division. What would you say about his championship ambitions? Is he inconvenient for top fighters?
– Kopylov is a very good puncher. In his last fights in the UFC he showed what he can do. But we'll have to take a closer look. Top fighters are at a whole different level. They fight differently, they have a different mindset. If he keeps winning, we'll see. In fighting, you can have a bad day and you'll lose. Anything can happen. There's no doubt that Kopylov is a very strong fighter, mentally tough, he's very determined. He enters the cage with confidence and fights, he asks the UFC to be a backup fighter. He has some serious ambitions.Bet on MMA with 1xBet
"It's surprising that the UFC still keeps Ferguson"
– How do you see the balance of power in the fight between Tony Ferguson and Paddy Pimblett right now?
– It's surprising that the UFC still keeps Ferguson. He's already lost six fights. Paddy Pimblett is a talented guy too. Experience can make a difference. Bobby Green last week beat Grant Dawson, and I thought he was one of those fighters who could reach the title. An old veteran came out against him and knocked him out in the first round.
– Before his fight, Green said that Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev were hiding in a mosque and taking banned drugs there. What can you say to this?
– They would say whatever just to get attention. They are the champions. That says it all. There's always gonna be talk around it. USADA spared no one. They're testing everybody the way they're supposed to be tested. If they found something in a champion, they would immediately say that he was doping."Even Fighters Under 61 Kg Can Beat Pimblett". UFC Fighter Mokaev Talks About His Provocative Opponent, Conor And Pavlovich Battle For Potential Title Contender Status: Tsarukyan Finally Gets Top UFC Opponent "Every boy In Dagestan Gets Into Street Fights". Interview With UFC Newcomer Shamil Gaziev