M-1 Challenge ex-heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov shared his thoughts on the development of
Russian MMA and remembered some moments of his M-1 Global career on the threshold of UFC
The best moments in M-1 Global career:
One of the best moments that I had in M-1 Global was the victory of our team at M-1 Selection. That
time there were team competitions in M-1 Global and I miss that format. Another great moment was
when I won the M-1 Challenge heavyweight title. Every important fight is very memorable.
First steps in M-1 Global:
My first fights at M-1 Global were at M-1 Selection team competitions, which helped me as a young
fighter to start my career, find my place in this sport and understand that I belong to MMA. At the time
it was a great opportunity for young athletes to demonstrate their skills and show up on local TV
stations, so M-1 Global was the first step in my professional career.
M-1 Global and UFC partnership:
UFC has a huge impact on development of the Russian MMA market. Partnership between M-1 Global
and UFC gives M-1 Global many advantages on the local market and makes it much more attractive for
Russian fighters. All mixed martial artists have a dream to fight in the UFC and now the way is clear. As
we’ve seen many times, top fighters and champions from M-1 Global compete on the highest level in
10 of 12 fighters at UFC Moscow used to fight in M-1 Global:
I’m rooting for all our fighters, no matter from which promotion they came to the UFC. At UFC Moscow
we’ll see a lot of tough guys and many of them fought in M-1 Global and some were even the
champions. All M-1 Global veterans at this event are great fighters and have good chances to win their
bouts. Fighting at home they’ll do their best to win.
Popularity of MMA in Russia:
Martial arts are much more popular nowadays than they’ve been seven years ago when I started my
professional career. Big fights like McGregor vs. Mayweather give our sport a real boost. That’s the
world trend and it works in Russia too. In the past Russia was in top 3 or top 5 countries with the biggest
number of MMA fighters in the world, but now I think we have even more fighters than Brazil.
Development of MMA in our country helps Russian fighters compete with American athletes, who are
the trendsetters in this sport.