The future of Russian MMA is brighter than ever, as the UFC will host its first ever event in Moscow tomorrow. But it’s the unique and impressive history of sports in Russia that truly fascinated UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo.
As an Olympic wrestling gold medalist, Cejudo participated in many tournaments in Russia before he fully dedicated his time to mixed martial arts. He believes that his time in Russia shaped him not only as a wrestler, but as a competitor.
Cejudo and UFC Director of Sports Science Dr. Roman Fomin visited the Russian Federation History of Sports Museum ahead of UFC Fight Night Hunt vs. Oleinik in order to learn more about the UFC’s newest host country.
On the tour the flyweight champ was absolutely blown away by the memorabilia at the museum as each room reflected the history of different sports. From technical sports such as archery to football (soccer) to ice hockey to wrestling.
Can you guess which room Cejudo spent the most time in?
After nearly an hour in the combat sports exhibit the rest of the tour group moved on, but not Cejudo. He stayed behind quietly just to have a couple extra minutes in the presence of history that shaped his wrestling and mixed martial arts career.
"These guys are proven in combat sports & Olympic sports, boxing, wrestling judo, taekwondo. I mean these guys have reached the highest levels & some of the best fighters in history have been Russian."
And now that the UFC has brought the Octagon to Russia, Cejudo believes there are big things are coming for MMA in this sport driven culture.
UFC Fight Night features bouts between veteran heavyweights Mark Hunt vs Aleksei Oleiniki and Andrei Arlovski vs Shamil Abdurakhimov. Light heavyweights Jan Blachowicz and Nikita Krylov will also battle it out. Undefeated 18-0 Aleksey Kunchenko makes his UFC debut against veteran Thiago Alves to round out the main card.
Tune in on UFC Fight Pass to watch, early prelims begin at 10:30 am EST and the main card starts at 2:00 pm EST.