Saygid Izagakhmaev scored a big win against Shinya Aoki at ONE 163 last weekend. The Russian is coached by Khabib Nurmagomedov and a teammate of newly crowned UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev.

The latter was in Izagakhmaev’s corner and afterwards the #4 ranked lightweight. During his last fight the Russian taunted his opponent telling them that ‘I’m the next champion, I’ll smash you’.

After his latest win Izagakhmaev told media he had done exactly what he promised he would since signing for ONE Championship,

“I told you that I would smash everyone!”

Vital part

Izagakhmaev was asked about the influence which Nurmagomedov and Makhachev have had on his career and made it clear they have both played a vital part in his success,

“These guys helped a lot in my career (and) everything I do in life. Whatever I have achieved it is because of them.”

He can expect to move up the rankings in the wake of his latest win and is clearly the lead contender for a shot at lightweight champion Christian Lee. They now have an opponent in common and Izagakhmaev points out that he beat Aoki much faster,

“Christian Lee fought Aoki for two rounds, I fought him for two minutes!”

He also laughed off the idea that Lee might somehow be able to secure a fight with his teammate Makhachev instead,

“He can say whatever he wants to say but everything is up to the organization, he can’t jump over me and go somewhere else.”

Tactical approach

He beat Aoki without a single takedown. A right hand from the Russian dropped the former lightweight champion who could have probably finished the fight any way he wanted after that,

“The plan was to do some striking but in the first minute I punched him and saw he was shaky and I thought ‘should I submit him?’ but decided to finish him like this.”

He was cheering for Kiamrian Abbasov who was eventually stopped by Lee in their welterweight title fight. He thinks the two division champion took a ‘tactical’ approach,

“What I would say is that he won very tactically, I don’t want to comment much (as) I was supporting Kiamrian and we are friends.”

The future

It sounds like he has respect for Lee,

“Christian Lee is a great champion, he’s a champion of two divisions for a reason but I’m here to get this belt.”

But he warns the Hawaiian that his reign as lightweight champion is coming to an end,

“I’m the future of ONE Championship. I’m going to get the title.”