Siyar Bahadurzda made his UFC debut on Saturday night in the best way possible. He starched the tough Brazilian cop Paulo Thiago in 42 seconds of the very first round. Even better, he did in front of a television audience of millions.
From being the guy with the unpronounceable name, Siyar has catapulted into being the man of the moment. All the major MMA media outlets were chasing him as soon as the event was over. Of course, one knockout does not make a superstar but we at Fighters Only have been following Siyar for a while now and he looks set for big things.
We got him on the phone on Monday; here’s what he had to say:
FO: A 42 second KO on your UFC debut! You must be very happy right now?
I am very happy! It was a perfect debut for me in the UFC; fighting a great fighter like Paulo Thiago and knocking him out in the first round was just a dream for me.
FO: Was the quick KO ideal or would you have preferred to showcase your skills a bit more?
Personally I don’t think anybody is happy with whatever kind of fight you fight. If you knock people out fast people say ‘well, you should have fought longer we would have seen your skill.’ If you fought longer, like Anderson Silva fights, they will be like ‘yeah you should finish people earlier, finish people faster.’
I will fight the way I want to fight and I want to fight like Mike Tyson. I want to go in there I want to knock people out as soon as possible and get the win as fast as possible… that’s what I am going to continue, as much as possible.
FO: It was a left hook behind the ear that seemed to do the damage, followed by a short right hand on the way down…
The left hand grazed him but the right hand, if you watch the good camera angle, the right hand caught him on the chin. Not perfectly but it caught him good because he was coming forward. It was the right hand that knocked him out really. The left punch actually set him up for the right uppercut.
FO: When I came to see you in January you had a big plaster cast on your right hand; how was it going into the fight and during camp?
My hand was a problem to be honest with you. I was really scared about punching hard. We train with MMA gloves and I spar with MMA gloves because that’s how you fight. I was scared of punching hard the whole time because I thought I don’t want to break my hand again but then ten days before the fight I did punch real hard [in training].
I was so scared that my hand was broken but I didn’t go to the hospital to find out if its broken, because if you find out your hand is broken it will weaken you down mentally. I was like, my hand is alright I will not go to the hospital. I kept telling myself ‘the hand is OK, the hand is OK.’ I was very excited for my debut. I said whatever happens I will find out after my debut.
Things worked out perfectly in the cage and later today I will go to the hospital to find out if my hand is broken or not.
FO: So you didn’t go to the hospital right after the fight?
No I just arrived yesterday evening in Holland. I didn’t sleep the whole night the other night and I just woke up a few hours ago.
FO: Big night was it?
Yeah there was a little bit of celebration and a little bit of adrenaline. I trained really hard to fight Paulo Thiago for fifteen minutes of war - stand-up, one the ground, wrestling, throwing, get up, everything.
Finishing the fight with one punch pumped so much adrenaline and energy into my body that I couldn’t even sleep so I stayed up all night and didn’t sleep the entire day, came to Holland, stayed up last night all night and then went to bed. I just woke up a few hours ago.
FO: I saw some Afghan flags in the crowd; was it friends of yours from Holland?
Well they were not my friends from Holland because the arena sold out in a few hours so they couldn’t buy tickets. A lot of people wanted to buy them and come from Holland which unfortunately they couldn’t do. But there are Afghans in Sweden who I never met before and they found out I was fighting so they bought tickets and brought Afghan flags with them, so I was very happy to see them.
FO: You also won the Knockout of the Night bonus, which must have been nice on top of the win…
Yes that was very nice. I was very honoured to be the guy who had the Knockout of the Night award for my UFC debut, especially on a great fighter like Paulo Thiago. That made it really special for me.
FO: You said in the post-fight presser you wanted to save up for a Maserati - are you nearly there now?
Ha! No not yet. Right now I am good for a cool bicycle which I can step on and go around here in Holland but hopefully the car will come in a few fights.
FO: So is there going to be some serious nightclubbing this weekend?
You know how it goes down in Holland!
FO: I know how you get down in Holland!
Haha yes. Well I will be celebrating this with my close friends who are people who helped me through the tough times that I had. My family, my friends… when I get close to a fight I change into a different person and I might hurt the people around me who are really close to me. So now it is apologising time, show them my love and be around them and give them attention. That is what I am going to do this week.
FO: You recently changed camps and now you are working with the famed Muay Thai coach Lucien Carbin. How has it been working with him?
I have always admired Lucien Carbin’s style of fighting and of course we worked on a few things. But the things you work on right now don’t come out in the next fight, they come out a few fights later. But we are working on some great things, it really helps my striking much more. I have become much more technical and every day there is some new technique.
And Lucien Carbin is not the kind of trainer who is easily impressed - he is looking for perfection, and if your technique is not perfect he will get you to do it right. He looks for perfection and perfect technique from me and so I think you will see a lot of good knockouts from me.
FO: Your old camp had guys like Gokhan Saki to spar with; how is the roster at the new camp?
Yeah I have a few A-class kickboxers to work with - A-class kickboxers in Holland are really good. I have jiu jitsu guys I have a really good wrestler.
In a few weeks I will travel to America and I will train at the Reign Training Center again and I will go check out my friend Alistair’s training camp in Miami to see how they train there and eventually I will go to Jackson’s MMA. I talked to Brian Stann; I might go to Jackson’s for a week to train MMA see how they operate and then I will see where I can train best for my next fight.
FO: So will your future camps be conducted in the US?
It depends where my fight is going to be. If my fight is in Europe I will have my training camp in Europe and if my camp is in America I will train in America… I trained with King Mo [last year] and I will work with King Mo again, he is my friend.
FO: In your opinion, is the MMA game in Europe a bit behind America? Is it essential to go and train in the US to get new ideas and the right people to work with?
The MMA level of training in Holland is not as high as in America of course, wrestling-wise and jiu jitsu-wise. But we have this one thing that you cannot get in America - the [Dutch] kickboxing. What makes me spectacular and an attractive fighter is my striking. So I will keep training in Holland and I will train in the US. I will keep my exciting style and I will be willing to stand in my next fight also, that’s the style I like to fight with.
FO: Any news on your next UFC fight yet?
Not yet! I am waiting for the UFC. First of all I will have to go to the hospital to get my hand cleared and then we will see if the UFC has plans for me.
Photo by Kate Silver (c)