주요 콘텐츠로 건너뛰기
Abus Magomedov trains in the UFC Performance Institute. (Phot by Rally Miller/ Zuffa LLC)
Athletes

Abus Magomedov Out To Prove He's A Headlining Act

The Middleweight Veteran And UFC Sophomore Looks To Validate Main Event Booking With A Big Effort Against Sean Strickland On Saturday.

Like a lot of people, Abus Magomedov was surprised when the UFC approached him with the opportunity to headline this weekend’s return to the UFC APEX opposite Sean Strickland.

“I was surprised about the news about the main event after just one fight in the UFC,” admitted the 32-year-old middleweight when we spoke on Wednesday morning. “I appreciate it and I’m thankful for the UFC that they gave me this opportunity to fight against a Top 15 guy; it means a lot for me.

“The UFC sees potential in me, and I will show them that it’s not the wrong decision,” he added. “I will show this Saturday that I deserve this opportunity.”

RELATED: Who Is Abus Magomedov? | Main Event Spotlight

On one hand, it’s easy to understand where some of the pushback and questions about Magomedov headlining originate: he’s made just one appearance inside the Octagon, and it came in the final preliminary card bout of the promotion’s debut in Paris, against an opponent that struggled to find success at this level.

But, on the other hand, the Russian-born fighter, who moved to Germany in his teens and still resides there to this day, is far from your typical UFC sophomore, and his debut appearance on the biggest stage in the sport was absolutely electric.

Abus Magomedov poses for a portrait during a UFC photo session on June 28, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Abus Magomedov poses for a portrait during a UFC photo session on June 28, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Facing off with Dustin Stoltzfus the day after his birthday, Magomedov strolled into the cage, quickly found his range, and connected with a front kick to the jaw of the Dana White’s Contender Series graduate, evoking memories of Anderson Silva’s stoppage win over Vitor Belfort at UFC 126.

The fight lasted just 19 seconds and the victory moved Magomedov to 25-4-1 for his career, which includes encounters with past and future UFC competitors like Jessin Ayari, Andreas Stahl, and Danillo Villefort, a fight with Danish standout Mikkel Parlo, and a run to the PFL middleweight tournament finals in 2018.

Dana White Announces Grasso-Shevchenko 2 For Mexican Independence Day

And while he only made his first walk to the Octagon last September, Magomedov had been signed to the promotion for over a year, with bouts against veteran Gerald Meerschaert and unbeaten DWCS alum Aliaskhab Khizriev failing to come together prior to his debut in Paris, which was originally scheduled to be against divisional stalwart Makhmud Muradov.

Abus Magomedov Gets 19 Second TKO Win In His UFC Debut | UFC Fight Night: Gane vs Tuivasa
fight pass logo
Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

This video is not available in your country

There was a problem while loading content. Please try again.

Abus Magomedov Gets 19 Second TKO Win In His UFC Debut | UFC Fight Night: Gane vs Tuivasa
/

While it was a triumphant moment a long time coming, and a nice belated birthday present to himself, the focused fighter admitted getting there wasn’t easy, and there were no major celebrations afterwards, either.

“It was not easy because before Paris, a couple fights were cancelled and I was in preparation (the entire time),” explained Magomedov, who ended up going 21 months between bouts prior to competing last fall. “This is not easy for some fighters — to always stay in shape. After I got my debut finally, I was so happy.

MORE FIGHT NIGHT: Saturday's Full Fight Card Preview

“I’m not a guy who celebrates birthdays,” he added when asked how he celebrated the victory and turning 32. “After 18, I just stopped celebrating my birthdays.”

What he’s likely to celebrate, however, is a victory over Strickland on Saturday, as it would mean a second straight UFC triumph, a fourth consecutive victory overall, and a move into the Top 15 in the middleweight rankings, which would be a major step towards his goal of reaching the top of the divisional hierarchy.

Abus Magomedov of Russia kicks Dustin Stoltzfus in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at The Accor Arena on September 03, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Abus Magomedov of Russia kicks Dustin Stoltzfus in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at The Accor Arena on September 03, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“The most interesting thing is he’s a Top 15 opponent,” Magomedov said of Strickland, who currently sits at No. 7 in the divisional rankings and enters the bout off a short notice win over Nassourdine Imavov in the first main event of the year. “(Fighting a ranked opponent, being in the rankings) are what most of the fighters in the UFC want to fight, and to get the chance to become a champion.

“Strickland is orthodox, he always goes forward, and he’s someone who is not scared to fight in the standup,” he added, offering a simple, but perfect, description of the man he’ll share the Octagon with this weekend in Las Vegas. “(He) is never scared of anyone, always fights with anyone, and I’m happy for it.”

Dana White Announces Grasso-Shevchenko 2 For Mexican Independence Day

In addition to being willing to face anyone and always coming forward, the 32-year-old Strickland is also a very capable, very successful fighter in his own right.

The California native, who now calls Las Vegas home, amassed a 20-3 record before a grizzly motorcycle accident put him on the sidelines for two years and nearly cost him his career. Since returning and moving back to middleweight — he dropped to welterweight after going 15-0 at 185 pounds to start his career — Strickland has posted a 6-2 record that includes victories over Brendan Allen, Uriah Hall, Jack Hermannson, and Imavov, with each of those last three wins coming in main event assignments that went the distance.

Abus Magomedov of Russia has his hands wrapped backstage during the UFC Fight Night event at The Accor Arena on September 03, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)
Abus Magomedov of Russia has his hands wrapped backstage during the UFC Fight Night event at The Accor Arena on September 03, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)

A much as the purposefully polarizing American rubs some people the wrong way, the masses see him as someone that has proven himself inside the Octagon and the type of experienced, established fighter that merits main event opportunities.

Do they feel the same about Magomedov? The UFC sophomore is motivated to make sure they do.

View Magomedov's Athlete Profile

“There is a lot of motivation, not just because of the main event and the UFC, but there are a lot of fans from Germany, from Russia who look at me and think maybe I didn’t deserve this fight,” offered the thoughtful fighter.

“After this fight, no one will talk anymore.”

UFC Fight Night: Strickland vs Magomedov took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 1, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!