Muslim Salikhov is originally from Russia but he made his name fighting in China and earned the nickname ‘King of Kung Fu’. At UFC on ABC 3 this weekend he faces an opponent who will be very familiar.

Jingliang Li is from China and the two men were competing on the regional scene there at around the same time. Salikhov knows exactly what to expect from his opponent,

“He will try to finish me, I will try to finish him,” Salikhov said. “It’s not going to be three rounds. I will do everything to finish the fight,” he told

Salikhov has won five fights in a row but has yet to crack the top 15. Jingliang is at #14 so a win for the Russian would surely be enough to earn him a ranking for the first time,

“It’s a very important fight because after this fight it’ll be (a) six-fight win streak and after this, I can call out anybody. It’s no joke. Six-fight win streak is good result, so I want to call out someone from top ten, top five,” he said.

Learning curve

Salikhov was submitted in the second round on his UFC debut. He has not lost since but says it has been a steep learning curve,

“Welterweight division (is) really tough. From first fight (in UFC) it was really difficult for me. After first fight I understand I should work more, work harder. Every single fight I feel it’s most important fight for me.”

He is known as ‘The King of Kung Fu’ for a reason. Salikhov’s last three fight have all gone the distance but he wants to showcase his unconventional striking in this bout,

“I’m going to shine this fight. I’m going to do a lot of spinning stuff; it’s going to be beautiful.”

Although both men are familiar to one another Salikhov expects Jingliang to try and spring a few surprises,

“He will try to trick me maybe, make me little bit nervous, but I do not care about this. I am not nervous, I’m in good shape, I understand that I can beat him anywhere.”

Different style

Jingliang is coming off a defeat to one of the most touted fighters in the division at UFC 267. The Chinese welterweight was finished by Khamzat Chimaev but Salikhov says his style is different to to the much touted Swedish star,

“Khamzat has different style, he finished him on the ground (but) I will finish him in standup fighting. I will knock him out. I don’t know, maybe I’ll finish him on the ground, too. It doesn’t matter. It’s a big opportunity to show the world that I’m a really big problem for the whole division.”

It has been over a year since Salikhov’s last UFC fight. It is a long break for a fighter who turned 38 earlier this year but he says he is in ‘good shape’ ahead of his return,

“I feel that I’m ready and you will see I’m in good shape and I’m going to show a very good, beautiful fight for MMA fans. I know a lot of people are waiting for this fight. I’m ready.”