SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia– M-1 Challenge featherweight champion Khamzat Dalgiev (10-1-0, M-1: 7-1-0) defends his title this Saturday against his American challenger, Nate “The Train” Landwehr (10-2-0, M-1: 2-0-0), in the M-1 Challenge 95: Battle in the Mountains main event, this Saturday in Ingushetia, Russia.
An all-around gifted MMA fighter, Dalgiev got into “The Rage” for a one-on-one interview:
When did you first start in MMA?
“I started training in judo when I was a child and I really loved it. After one championship, where judges made a few very bad decisions that prevented me from becoming the national champion, I decided to move on. At that time there were no MMA gyms around, so I just watched fight videos and hoped to start fighting one day. After a while a friend of mine told me about an MMA gym opening and I understood this was my chance. I remember staying far away from The Rage at one of the first M-1 Global shows in Ingushetia, dreaming about entering the Rage one day by myself.”
What did you have to work hardest at to become the fighter you are today?
“In the beginning of my career, the most difficult thing for me was striking, because I only had a wrestling background. But I can say for sure that it is much easier for a wrestler to learn striking than for a striker to learn wrestling. After a few months of hard training, I had my first fight.”
“In my early fights, I preferred using my wrestling skills to defeat my opponents, but as my striking was getting better, I started using it more and more and really enjoyed it. In the upcoming fight I’d love to add the fourth knockout victory to my record.”
Can you talk a little about your only pro loss that came in your debut?
“In my debut fight, I fought a much more experienced fighter, Ali Bagov, who had more than 20 pro fights on his record. I did not care about his record because those are just numbers and I have never chosen my opponents. If you want to be the best you have to fight the best.”
“That loss in my debut fight changed me a lot as a fighter. I gained experience, started training harder and since then, with God’s help, I’ve won 10 fights in a row. Even if I could change it and declined taking that fight, I would never do it because that fight was one of the most important one in my career.”
What’s the key to your success?
“If you want to succeed, you have to work hard 24/7 and spare no efforts. You have to set a goal and do your best to reach it, clearing all obstacles on your way.
Can you look back at your title-winning performance and explain what happened?
“In the title fight against Ivan Buchinger, I had great confidence that the title belt will be mine. I was extremely motivated and did not feel his punches. He could deliver one good shot to my head that caused a flash knockdown, but it did not shake me. I did not lose concentration and kept controlling the fight. I was listening to my corner and with their help knocked out the champ.”
“For that victory the president of Ingushetia Yunus-bek Yevkurov, gave me a generous gift – Toyota Camry – and when I got home that night, I gave it to my mother because I believe that a mother is the most important person in life for any person. I am not always at home, we have no father and my baby brother is too young to help our mom, so mother could use a car to make her life a bit easier.”
What do you feel about your opponent, Nate Landwehr?
“Nate Landwehr is a very aggressive fighter and I love it. He keeps pushing his opponents all the time, no matter what, and even if he eats some punches, he does not stop, and this is exactly the way I fight. Nothing can stop me! So, I have no doubts our fight is going to be the best fight of the night!”
“The best victory is the fast victory, so I’d like to finish ‘The Train’ early. On the other hand, a tough five-round battle would give me much more experience and a boost to my career. Anyway, I’ll do my best and use any opportunity to finish my opponent. My goal to is to become a better fighter and leave a mark in MMA history!”
M-1 Challenge featherweight title-holder Movsar Evloev (9-0-0, M-1: 9-0-0) makes his second title defense versus Rafael Dias (15-5-0, M-1: 1-1-0) In the co-featured event.