TORONTO — Earlier this year it looked like the UFC was going to let Misha Cirkunov walk in free agency, but the rising Latvian-Canadian star was able to come to terms on a new contract. Cirkunov received many offers from around the world but he “didn’t even look at them” because he wanted to remain in the UFC.
“To me, personally, the UFC is the only real organization just based on a simple thing. Drug testing,” Cirkunov told Sportsnet. “I’m very, very happy I get drug tested very often. This is my fifth fight and I’ve already been tested 12 times.”
Staying in the UFC means the 30-year-old can continue rising up the light-heavyweight rankings. Cirkunov is 4-0 in the UFC with four stoppage wins and is looking to keep his streak alive when he fights Volkan Oezdemir in Stockholm, Sweden on May 28.
Oezdemir might not be a household name but it’s a dangerous matchup.
Cirkunov (13-2 in MMA) said he was impressed that Oezdemir beat a ranked contender like Ovince Saint Preux in his UFC debut back in February. That win over Saint Preux vaulted Oezdemir up the UFC’s 205-pound rankings. Oezdemir currently sits as the No. 5 contender while Cirkunov, who trains out of Xtreme Couture Toronto, sits at No. 7 following his submission win over Nikita Krylov at UFC 206 in December.
His victory over Krylov was the biggest of Cirkunov’s career to date. It was so impressive, in fact, that UFC light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier felt the need to reach out to Cirkunov.
“It was mind blowing. It was almost like one of those things you wake up and it’s almost like a dream but it’s reality. It’s actually him on the phone,” Cirkunov said. “Daniel Cormier’s so humble. He’s a real champion. Super humble guy and the toughest guy in the world.”
If Cirkunov continues finishing his opponents in the UFC he might have to stop viewing Cormier as a role model and instead start looking at him as a potential opponent.
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