Longo-Weidman fighter Nazim Sadykhov on UFC opportunity at DWCS 50: ‘This is what I’m here for’
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. – When Nazim Sadykhov was 6, he moved from Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, to Brooklyn, N.Y., with his family and by that point, he’d already been training karate for almost three years. That’s why Sadykhov, now 28, describes himself as a “life-long mixed martial artist.”
But even for him, trying to convince his friends and family that he wanted to make a career out of MMA, that was hard to do.
“I think that every fighter, at one point or another, has to go through something like that, has to explain that this is really what I want to do (and that) it’s not just something that you do on the weekend, and it’s cool,” Azerbaijan, started taking MMA seriously at 20, recently told MMA Junkie. “To force people to believe that you’re going to make a career out of this is very difficult.”
But Sadykhov did it – and he did so with results that have brought him to the doorstep of the UFC. On Tuesday night, Sadykhov meets Ahmad Hassanzada in a lightweight bout at Dana White’s Contender Series 50. If Sadykhov wins impressively enough in front of the UFC president, he will secure a UFC contract.
Sadykhov (6-1), a member of Longo-Weidman MMA on Long Island, arrived at this moment on the strength of six consecutive wins, with his lone defeat in his professional debut back in November 2018. Five of those six wins have been stoppages, including in his last fight – a 55-second knockout at Fury FC 59 this past March.
Along with those ups, Sadykhov has experienced his share of downs along his MMA journey. In March 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he had “a load of injuries,” which included a broken rib and broken hand that kept him out of action. If not for a “string of bad luck” (he’s also had COVID-19 twice), Sadykhov might’ve gotten his UFC opportunity sooner.
Now that it’s here, he’s not surprised.
“I can’t say that it caught me off guard,” Sadykhov said. “This is what I’m here for. I stepped through Serra-Longo’s doors in March 2019, and I came here with one sole mission – and that’s to be a world champion. Obviously there’s steps to it. … Three years later, I’m at the doorstep of my first goal, which is getting to the UFC.”
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This story was originally published August 16, 2022 8:00 AM.