The rising UFC lightweight has revenge on his mind.
Two weeks ago, at UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs. Struve, lightweight Mairbek Taisumov turned heads yet again. In less than two minutes ‘Beckan’ was able to find the chin of Felipe Silva with a punch that instantly floored the Brazilian. The KO was the Russian’s fifth stoppage via strikes in as many fights.
Post-fight, when giving his shot with the microphone, Taisumov didn’t disappoint. Unlike many who use the spotlight to say, “I’ll fight anyone the UFC throws at me,” Taisumov called out the top ten fighters in the 155lb division and name checked Michael Chiesa, Anthony Pettis, and Nate Diaz.
Now with the dust settled on his Performance of the Night, Taisumov is continuing his campaign to square up with a top ten fighter. And the opponent he most wants isn’t someone he named in Rotterdam.
“If you ask me who I want to fight, I want to fight Eddie Alvarez,” Taisumov told Bloody Elbow. “He beat my trainer, before in Bellator. I just want to get into the cage with this guy and smash this guy.”
Taisumov’s trainer is Roger Huerta. Huerta was viewed as the next big thing in MMA back in the mid-2000s thanks to wins over Leonard Garcia and Clay Guida. Huerta was also the first mixed martial artist to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated, a fact fight fans were reminded of ad-nauseam until the Mexican-American’s hype train was derailed with losses to Kenny Florian and Gray Maynard.
Huerta left the UFC in 2009 and went 1-2 in Bellator, winning his debut but then losing to Pat Curran and the aforementioned Alvarez. The Alvarez loss was particularly brutal, with a beaten and swollen Huerta being refused entry into the third round by the ringside physician.
Though it was seven years ago, Taisumov has not forgotten about that fight and he is confident in his ability to avenge his coach’s loss.
“I believe I am going to smash Eddie Alvarez,” he said. “He is ex-champion, he is a true legend, but I’m going to smash this guy. I know and I feel that I can beat this guy.”
Despite his desire to take on the former UFC lightweight champion, Taisumov is realistic in admitting that there was little chance the UFC would book that fight right now.
“I don’t think that they’re going to give me Eddie Alvarez. Eddie Alvarez doesn’t want to fight. I’m not going to wait for Eddie Alvarez,” he said.
Taisumov, who is now ranked 15th in the lightweight division, stated that he would accept any fight with a fellow top fifteen ranked fighter. “In one or two fights; I hope they will give me a top five opponent or the champion,” he added.
The victory over Felipe Silva took place in the Netherlands. Other than fights in Brazil and Singapore, all of Taisumov’s UFC contests have taken place in Europe. The Grozny-born fighter has been booked to fight in the US, but visa issues have prevented those fights from taking place.
“I want to fight in the USA,” sighed Taisumov. “I have some problems with my visa, but my lawyer is working on it and very soon I hope I will get my working visa for the USA and I will get to fight in the USA. I want to show my skills in America. The UFC and mixed martial arts; Las Vegas is their home. I want to fight in this place, I want to be champion in this place.”
Despite having his heart set on competing stateside, Taisumov is targeting Asia for his next UFC bout. He hopes to feature at UFC Fight Night: Silva vs. Gastelum on November 25th in Shanghai, China.