Omari Akhmedov moving down to 170 after 'Fight of the Night' performance
In a first-round war against Thiago Perpetuo at UFC Fight Night 32 in Goiania, Brazil, on Nov. 9, Akhmedov showed a huge heart to overcome a pair of knockdowns and score a knockout victory in his rival's country, earning himself the 'Fight of the Night' bonus.
"I didn't see the shots that were coming and he did catch me with the hook, I think, and it made me much more angry so i just started fighting back," Akhmedov said after the fight. "I never think about giving up."
Undefeated in MMA as a middleweight with 10 stoppage wins, Akhmedov plans to drop a few pounds and compete as a welterweight in 2014.
"My biggest concern was about the weight because my opponent was way bigger than me," he said. "I naturally weigh 185 pounds, but the UFC offered me this fight, and I never refuse to fight. But, for my next fights, I'm going to fight at 170 because this guy was huge."
"I don't cut much," he continued. "But on the high level performance, in the best promotion, I think I need to cut more because all these guys are bigger than me and it's really tough to fight with them."
Akhmedov is only one of the new Russian fighters that are calling the fans' attention inside the Octagon. Rustam Khabilov and Khabib Nurmagomedov are also coming off big wins under the UFC banner, and Akhmedov believes it could help the promotion if it decides to do a UFC card in Russia in the near future.
"I wish it really happens," he said. "If UFC gives Khabib a title shot, I think they're putting a show in Moscow."
"They are all my friends, good fighters. Definitely, one of these guys will get the UFC title soon. And I think they will give (Nurmagomedov) a title shot soon."