Even after winning the biggest MMA event in the Middle East, the ADFC, heavyweight Shamil Abdurahimov (12w, 1l) doesn’t see himself as a potential successor to compatriot Fedor Emelianenko.
In an interview with GRACIEMAG.com Shamil comments on his conquest from March 11 and tells of when he became certain he would win the ADFC GP, where he went down the line beating Jeff Monson, Rameau Sokoudjou and Marcão Oliveira, the tournament’s other finalist. The only blemish on Shamil’s career is his loss to Brazil’s Thiago “Big Monster” Santos.
What was your start in MMA like?
As is the custom in Dagestan, where I’m from, all kids start doing some sport during childhood. And there freestyle wrestling is very developed, so most kids start in that sport. Gradually I started getting serious about it, doing one competition after the other, and naturally I moved into MMA (in 2008).
What did you differently in training for the GP?
At the outset I trained normally, but after beating Jeff Monson I realized my preparations wouldn’t be enough, since I had to be a cut above my competitors. Then I faced Sokoudjou. To me he would be the worst opponent for me, but everything went along normally, and I didn’t doubt I could win it for a second. That’s when I realized the million dirhams would be mine. Even more so when the Brazilian (Marcão) started smack talking, provoking me in the lead-up to our fight. Those who talk a lot don’t get anything done. (Marcão joked that he would let the Russian hold his belt for a few seconds after the fight.)
But be that as it may, I respect all the opponents I faced in the GP. Each of them was a necessary obstacle, and they are worthy fighters, because they’ve had many other fights in their lives. To me, I don’t see opponents as being strong, but as being worthy.
Do you consider yourself to be a natural successor to Fedor Emelianenko, another Russian who dominated the field of competition he was in for a long time?
“Feodor” is the worthiest of sportsmen, and all worthy sportsmen in life see their rise and fall. And we will all one day be overcome and substituted. I don’t consider myself to be a successor to the style and technique of Fedor, but I too have my Russian fans, and that to me is enough.