ByVolkan Oezdemir, writer at
Official Creators Profile for UFC light heavyweight Volkan Oezdemir, the first Swiss fighter to compete in the Octagon.
Volkan Oezdemir

I’m really excited to be fighting in the co-main event of this week. The Swedish people love fighting; it’s a fighting country, and it’s only like a 90-minute flight from my home in Switzerland.

I have a bunch of people flying in to see me fight, which I’m really happy about.

Switzerland is a relatively small country, and MMA is still evolving there. But, we have a lot of amateur fights helping young talent get some fights and experience and preparing them for the pros. It’s amazing to be the first athlete to represent Switzerland in the UFC, but eventually there will be more, and there are already a few guys coming up. I hope I can open the gates for them.

Maybe it’s because of our relationship with France, but in Switzerland, we have this mentality like we’re smaller. Actually, the French call us the “Little Swiss,” but we have nothing to be ashamed or afraid about. We have good fighters and good teams. We just didn’t have the same opportunities in sports. But that’s gonna come.

Fighting in Sweden is a great opportunity. MMA in Europe is definitely growing, so I’m excited about hopefully having a UFC event in Switzerland one day, maybe in Geneva.

If you think about it, Switzerland is at the center of western Europe. It’s really close to everywhere: a few hours from Paris, next to Germany, next to Italy. It makes a lot of sense.

Culturally, we also speak French in Switzerland and have a very French region, so actually, a UFC event in Geneva could also maybe help France accept MMA, since it’s currently illegal there. If the French see all the money that an event can produce, maybe they’ll change their minds.

After that, no one will be calling us the “Little Swiss” anymore.

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