Saygid Izagakhmaev is eyeballing the ONE Championship lightweight division at large.
The hotly buzzed about Dagestani warrior debuts inside the Circle against former ONE welterweight title contender James Nakashima. This clash takes place at ONE: Heavy Hitters on January 14th from Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Recently speaking with ONE Championship, who provided the transcription, Izagakhmaev said, “I’ve already watched all of the top 10 fighters in the division. I think the toughest of them all is James Nakashima, and I will try to approach this fight in my peak form.”
“I know that he is a very tough opponent. He is from American freestyle wrestling. I have seen all of his fights. I don’t think he can surprise me with anything. Since my opponent is a wrestling lover too, I think I will have to use my striking skills as well. I can use my elbows, legs, and boxing as needed. I think my style is fifty-fifty, and it depends on my opponent. Even if I can’t take him down, I won’t fixate on something. I will beat him standing up. I don’t see any danger from him, and I don’t think he is better than me at anything.”
ONE: Heavy Hitters
While he has quite the stiff test in front of him, Izagakhmaev did also indicate a focus on some other high-profile players in the weight category. Specifically reigning ONE lightweight titleholder Ok Rae Yoon and former UFC/ Bellator lightweight world champion Eddie Alvarez.
In the same onefc.com interview, Izagakhmaev stated, “I can’t say anything about any specific way of [finishing] James Nakashima, but I plan to finish him either standing or on the ground. We’ll see. But where I’m from, if you say something, you have to prove your words at any cost.”
“My goal in ONE Championship is to become the world champion. If I didn’t have this goal in mind, I wouldn’t fight. I want to be a champion, and Inshallah, with the Lord’s help, I will become a champion. I want to tell my future opponents: be ready. Be ready for wrestling, for stand-up, [it makes] no difference. After I am past James Nakashima, I will approach more top fighters, such as Ok Rae Yoon and Eddie Alvarez.”
What are your feelings on these ONE Championship lightweight callouts from Saygid Izagakhmaev?
I’ve been enamored with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I’ve hosted MMA talk shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, and more. I’ve been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC as well as BTC and have done play by play commentary on live pay per view on GFL as well as FITE TV. I’ve provided written, audio, and video content covering some of the biggest MMA promotions like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage. I’ve worked as a sports entertainment personality for over five years and given play-by-play or featured promotions of KSW, ONE Championship, TKO, and Invicta FC. My work can be found in the USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, and Liberty Multimedia.