Ivan, what did you feel after your fight against Khamzat Dalgiev when you lost your title? What did go wrong in the fight?
I did not get any injuries and physically was feeling good, but I was extremely disappointed, because my opponent was so lucky to deliver a nice punch. It was just a lucky punch, which knocked me out.
Everything went as planned till the moment, when I made a single fatal mistake. He was lucky that night, but I don’t want to belittle Khamzat’s skills, he is an excellent fighter and a great person.
Would I win a rematch? I don’t want to make any predictions, if we fight for the second time, we will see who is going to be the winner, but I am sure, I am a better fighter than him.
What can you say about your next opponent Andrey Krasnikov?
Honestly, I do not have too much to say about him. He is a young and strong opponent, who is always ready to go till the end. I take all my fights very seriously and the next one won’t be an exception. My coaches and team have watched some fights of my opponent and helped me to understand what I have to do in the fight, what I have to avoid.
I am sure that I can get my strap back and this fight should become my first step. This time I feel a little bit different, because I don’t feel any pressure, which I used to feel as a champion.
At press conference before your fight against Dalgiev, Khamzat said that he would like to defend his title for the first time against Nate Landwehr. Who do you think would be a winner of that fight?
It’s hard to say. Our fight with Khamzat was not long, we spent not much time together in the Rage, Landwehr I don’t even know. Anyway, I would be happy if Dalgiev defends the title, so I could take it back from him in the rematch. However, if anybody else will be the champion at the time when I get my title shot, I’ll take my belt from him.
Real champions do not care against whom to fight, so I will fight any opponent to return my belt. Everybody knows who the true champion is, so as soon as I have an opportunity to win the title, I’ll do it.
What are your expectations about the coming fight?
I am happy to fight in Saint-Petersburg at the new M-1 Arena. I love Russian fans, because they really understand MMA and are always very hospitable. I am going to make a huge comeback and win in style!