Reaching the largest mixed martial arts league on the planet, the UFC, is a highly complex task, a long road. Consolidating among the cast of these “chosen” is a task only available to the most privileged. That is what the Hispano-Georgian seeks to do Ilia Topuria, the fighter with the greatest projection in our country, who will try to give a blow of authority this Saturday (Dazn) in front of the experienced American Damon Jackson.
At 23 years old, Ilia has proven to be a very mature athlete, with an extraordinary capacity for submission. He made his UFC debut last October with an authoritative victory over Youssef Zalal, who was seeking his fourth win at the company this year. He was close to subduing the Moroccan, but he had not had enough time to prepare the fight – he caught it eight days in advance – and his forces began to waver. He came and won, Spain applauded, but he was not happy with his performance. That’s why he comes into this fight with a voracious hunger, ready to consolidate himself in the best league in the world. «I have had more time to gain more confidence. I have prepared very well. I’m in the best shape of my life», The fighter residing in Alicante advises on ABC.
Since he prevailed over Zalal in Abu Dhabi, Ilia has not returned home. Accompanied by their coaches, brothers Jorge and Agustín Climent, they took a flight to Miami, where their managers are established. There they looked for a gym to continue progressing, sacrificing their time with their people, knowing that a fight would soon break out on American soil. So it was, he will have to battle at dawn (Spanish time) in Las Vegas. “At first I was going to train in the American Top Team, but we did not reach an agreement. Our manager recommended the MMA Masters and we have been super good, they have received us great, like at home. And when I say like at home, they have left us our space for me to work with my coaches and then we would get together with the other boys to spar and also the coaches from the gym taught us some details “, Topuria details.
His life for eight weeks has followed a military discipline. «Have breakfast, train, eat, train and rest. Like this every day, “says the young fighter. «It has been a great job, with the whole team focused on me one hundred percent. When you are at home you are also focused on personal things, but not here, we were far from the world and we only dedicated ourselves to training », he explains. Of course, being separated from your people for so long is something that is difficult to deal with. «It has been quite hard for us, it is difficult to live with the preparation, the diet, the training, away from home. I missed my son’s first birthday, my coach missed his daughter’s … and that made me sad, but at the end of the day it is the sacrifice that is made to achieve our goals ».
Regarding his rival, Ilia assures that in the UFC “there are no easy fights.” Damon is an experienced guy, he’s good on the ground and knocking down, but I am much better than him any modality“, He says. «I don’t think people get to see how prepared I am physically because i’ll finish it before time. It has been said that in the last round of my UFC debut I was tired, but this time it will be different.
When the referee raises his hand, something that according to the Hispano-Georgian will surely happen, it will be time to think about his return to Alicante, where he will continue with his training surrounded by his family. There, he says, is where it is best. «I am returning home, whatever you offer me. We have traveled almost all over the world and Spain has nothing to envy anywhere, I wish to return with all my heart », he concludes.