Russian Olympian and prolific wrestler Bilyal Makhov didn't sign with the UFC to make many new friends. He plans on dominating within the promotion and doing so in the heavyweight division.
Next on his "to do list" is Olympic gold, but he promises the UFC title will be immediately below that. He's still 0-0 in the UFC, but he's one of the more highly publicized signings in recent memory.
So, let's introduce the man, Here's what he said to Bloody Elbow (through a translator):
"I was born in Kabardino Balkaria. Then I went to boarding school in Dagestan. Basically, I grew up in Dagestan since I was 15 years old. That is where I started my wrestling career. So I have a mixed background. I represent two republics."
He was quite literally raised on wrestling
This dude lives and breathes wrestling. He attended the Khasavyurt Wrestling Olympic Reserve School in Russia, known for raising some of the most prolific wrestlers in the world.
"It was specifically the gym that I was involved in that was one of the best teams in Russia. The gym itself was very impressive. It already had two Olympic champions, three World champions, while the rest were all Russian champions. So of course that type of team influenced me."
"In that gym, there was like a cloud of sweat - steam from sweat. The atmosphere of this gym is that from 7am to 9pm there is probably a thousand people training there. It is group after group, one session after the other. It is one of the most famous gyms in the entire world for wrestling."
He comes across as incredibly sophisticated in his education of the different styles and forms of fighting.
"A lot of people don't understand this, but Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling are two totally different styles. The specifics are different. The rules are different. Everything is different. It is just called wrestling. In Freestyle wrestling, I have 12 years of experience. In Greco Roman, I have only 3-4 months of experience. The Olympics is the dream of every wrestler. It is the ambition of every athlete to get the gold medal. In the Olympics, I can't experiment or rely on a bracket like I did at the Worlds. Every small step counts. I have to really focus just to get the gold in the Olympics. Therefore, I have to focus on one style."
He thinks MMA will be well-suited to him
"It won't take me too long to adapt. At the end of the day, this is combat. Whether it is wrestling or MMA, it is combat. I will adapt to it very quickly. However, I will take a very professional approach."
I've bolded my favorite quote from him below, which is amazing:
"I met Daniel Cormier many years ago when he used to wrestle. He came to Russia a few times to compete. He was very popular in Russia because he would put a show on. He created a lot of fans in Russia. I never met Cain Velasquez but maybe one day. The point is, I got motivation from those two fighters to compete. We wrestlers have something called a ‘wrestling brotherhood.' It doesn't matter where we come from. It doesn't matter what our nationality is. As long as we have cauliflower ears, we have something that holds together the wrestling ideology. Even if we don't know them personally, we love to see them succeed. I am hoping to be the elite of the elite one day and represent the sport of wrestling. One day, I will be there."
I can't wait to see this guy step foot in the Octagon.
(Via: Bloody Elbow)