The strongest Bulgarian in mixed fights is now part of the strongest MMA organization. Blagoy Ivanov-Bagata will make the UFC’s long-awaited debut, and his rival is none other than the former UFC heavyweight champion, Jill Dos Santos. The baggage will enter the octagon in the early hours of July 15, with MAX Sport 2 watching live the whole gala from 5:00. What awaits Blagoi Ivanov from his first UFC match, see the special interview he gave for the A1 blog and for Gong.bg.
Countless days to your UFC debut, how are you feeling?
I feel good, ready.
It has been speculated for a long time with your passing to the UFC. How did you decide on this step and how did the negotiations pass?
I had a proposal 2 years ago, but I decided to wait for better conditions and time came.
Do you feel the transition to the UFC as your dream come true or are your ambitions much bigger than just being part of the UFC?
For me, my ambitions always have been to fight with the best fighters in the world, so they have come to an end. The fact that my match will be the main at the gala evening also gives me great confidence and respect from the UFC.
How did you prepare for the match, did we see that he had some training with some of the best ones, such as Francis Nganu, Daniel Corrie and Cain Velasquez?
Most of the preparation was in San Jose, I did not cook there for the first time, and for my previous meeting there I was cooking. The preparation read well and the sparring partners themselves were very much involved in the training, they helped me a lot, so everything went well.
Cain Velasquez has three matches against Jill Santos, did you give any advice on how to beat him?
We worked for tactics with him, but there is a big difference from meeting to meeting. Things change during the match, getting hit, but we have a tactic built and I have to stick to it.
How do you feel the level in the UFC, is it much higher than that in the WSOF as a fighter and organization?
As an organization UFC is the largest organization in the world, as fighters – I have been with some who have been in the UFC. For example, Shaun Jordan, he has won over Derrick Lewis who has a knockout victory over Francis Nganu. This is a heavyweight category and almost everyone can beat everyone.
You already have a big name in your first game. Is this good?
It’s good for me, he’s a former UFC fighter, the bigger the pressure on him, I have nothing to lose, I have to beat him.
Can you say anything more about it? How do you rate your chances?
He is one of the UFC’s most prominent names, he is quite athletic, has strength in both hands, he is a strong punch, most of his meetings are quite attractive. A totally complex fighter, a good defense, Klinch, one of the best fighters in the UFC.
According to bookmakers, analysts and other fighters from UFC Dos Santos is a favorite in the battle. Does that affect you in any way?
No, it does not affect me in any way. It’s even better for me.
What is your opinion of the big heavyweight championship title between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormière and how do you see yourself against these best fighters?
I watched her meet, my opinion is that Corrie played the cards correctly. I was expecting him to win because we are teammates and sparring partners. It is only because we have such a rule in our room that we can only meet him if we play for the title.
A victory against Dos Santos would immediately make you one of the contenders for the title of Cormière. Do you think of such a thing or is it too early?
Right now I do not know what will happen, first my meeting has to pass. Corrie holds the two belts heavy and light, has a meeting with Brock Lesnar, who has a date. I do not know what will happen, first let this meeting pass. But I think I’m close, a victory will bring me closer.
Do you expect a Bulgarian party in the hall?
I expect almost all my meetings have a lot of Bulgarians and I want to thank them for their support.
And what would you say to the Bulgarian fans, who will be in the early hours of Sunday, to keep your thumbs on TVs?
I would tell them that I go out to fight for all the fans, for Bulgaria. I will give everything of myself, as it happens, God’s work.