On Friday night, ONE Championship featherweight champion Marat “Cobra” Gafurov will be defending his championship for the second time as he will be meeting Narantungalag Jadambaa for the second time in his career. Today I was able to speak to Gafurov on his preparations for the coming bout, training camp and a quick prediction on how his fight with Jadambaa will go down on Friday.
Justin David Kish: Thank you so much for your time Marat, how are things going for you today?
Marat Gafurov: Good thank you.
Justin David Kish: Let’s get right into it, you will be defending your featherweight championship this weekend when you take on Narantungalag Jadambaa. How have preparations for the fight been going?
Marat Gafurov: I have been training hard. I’ve fought Jadamba before and he is very strong – stronger than I thought. He managed to escape a lot of my chokes previously. So this time I want to be prepared and I want to finish fast.
Justin David Kish: You have fought Jadambaa once before, taking the featherweight title off of him. Have you seen any of his recent fights and do you think this is a different Jadambaa from when you last fought him?
Marat Gafurov: I am sure he, just like me is working harder to improve and get better for this fight. For me, I focus on myself so that I am prepared for him. This fact doesn’t make big difference, as we all watch each other’s fights when getting ready. I am sure he had done it before and he is going to do it again now, so there won’t be a big difference.
Justin David Kish: Was there a prime focus in this training camp?
Marat Gafurov: I just worked to sharpen all my skill sets and on strategy to finish Jadamba faster.
Justin David Kish: Like I said before you have faced Narantungalag once before. But in this time out how are you going to approach this fight this time around?
Marat Gafurov: I learned from my previous fight that you should not underestimate an opponent. I realised that my weight cut and preparation was sloppy. So this time I will work on that.
Justin David Kish: With this fight being a saga fight and potential trilogy fight is there any bad blood between you two or can we squash these rumors?
Marat Gafurov: I respect Jadamba a lot as he is a strong and tough warrior like me. We are both out there to do our jobs. There is no bad blood.
Justin David Kish: Say you pull off this victory over Jadambaa, where do you think this victory puts you in the ONE Featherweight division? Who would you like to see come your way next?
Marat Gafurov: I aim to be the best in all the championships I fight in. And now I am on top in ONE, Asia’s largest MMA promotion. I’ll fight whoever ONE challenge me with to prove that I am still the best.
Justin David Kish: Before we let you go can you give us your prediction on how your fight with Jadambaa will go down this weekend?
Marat Gafurov: I will finish it via RNC in the first round.