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“I wouldn’t want to fight myself” - Saygid Izagakhmaev suggests Shinya Aoki and Eddie Alvarez may be scared to face him

Saygid Izagakhmaev (Center) called out Shinya Aoki (Right) and Eddie Alvarez (Left). | [Photos: ONE Championship]
Saygid Izagakhmaev (Center) called out Shinya Aoki (Right) and Eddie Alvarez (Left). | [Photos: ONE Championship]
Ben Imperial

Following Saygid Izagakhmaev’s impressive ONE Championship debut at Heavy Hitters last Friday, January 14 in Singapore, Khabib Nurmagomedov's protege took to the microphone and immediately called out some big names.

The most prolific of those names was multi-time former ONE lightweight world champion Shinya ‘Tobikan Judan’ Aoki and former UFC lightweight world champion Eddie ‘The Underground King’ Alvarez.

Despite the challenge he laid out, however, the Russian warrior believes that both Aoki and Alvarez may be reluctant to step into the Circle with him. He thinks that's the case after his exhilarating performance against James Nakashima, whom he finished in the second round via head and arm triangle choke.

During his post-fight interview with Mitch Chilson in the Circle, he had this to say through a translator:

“I knew I was going to win when I was just entering this ring. I destroyed your former challenger, so give me another fight.”

The last part of his statement needed no translation:

“Hey Eddie, Aoki, I kill you!”

In a follow-up interview with the South China Morning Post, Izagakhmaev was later asked if he thought he would receive a response from either Aoki or Alvarez.

“I think no, but if I will be in their position, I wouldn’t fight myself.”

Catch Izagakhmaev's post-fight interview with SCMP below:

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In addition, Izagakhmaev also spurred ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong to award him the US$50,000 bonus, which the founder of the promotion later on ended up doing.


Saygid Izagakhmaev is a monster

ONE Championship’s lightweight division has a new boogeyman and his name is Saygid Izagakhmaev. As of this writing, neither Aoki nor Alvarez have responded to Izagakhmaev’s callout and that’s understandable.

Not only did he exhibit supreme skill against Nakashima, but the 27-year-old also looked noticeably bigger and stronger than his opponent during their bout.

“When I was younger, I was always a physically weak guy but then I focused on training myself physically and [improved my] cardio and I started to win my fights. I think, as a fighter, even though you’re technically good, you also have to train your physical condition.”

Saygid Izagakhmaev’s combination of skill and strength was a sight to behold for Sityodtong, as he raved about it during a post-event interview with SCMP MMA:

"When you look at the technique, when you look at — He is also a monster at lightweight," said Sityodtong. "I can’t believe he is a lightweight. He is huge! And for him to dominate a world-class wrestler like James Nakashima – James is working on grappling relentlessly and upgraded it for this fight but still dominated completely."

Edited by Harvey Leonard

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