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Saidyokub Kakhramonov of Uzbekistan reacts after his submission victory over Trevin Jones of Guam in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
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Saidyokub Kakhramonov Simply Defied The Odds

Despite The Odds Interfering Every Step Of The Way, Saidyokub Kakhramonov's Persistence Led To A Draw-Dropping Debut

Saidyokub Kakhramonov was on vacation.

Correction, says Kakhramonov, “I've been on a vacation for the past three months.”

Well, not completely, as the 25-year-old makes sure he’s always in the gym in one way, shape or form, but as far as fight training, after his last bout against Tycen Lynn in March, he needed some time away from his adopted home in California.

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“They stole my car in California, so I couldn't really get to training,” he said. “I had no ride, so I wasn't really training much, and I was like, 'Man, I'm tired of being here; I want to go back home and visit the family.'”

Saidyokub Kakhramonov of Uzbekistan reacts after his submission victory over Trevin Jones of Guam in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Saidyokub Kakhramonov of Uzbekistan reacts after his submission victory over Trevin Jones of Guam in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Family isn’t across town or even across the country. Family for Kakhramonov is his native Uzbekistan, a close to 20-hour plane ride away, but once home, the bantamweight prospect was able to unwind a bit.

Just a little bit, as he soon got a call about a fight. In Las Vegas. Against Trevin Jones. On August 21. In the UFC.

None of the rest mattered. All that did count to Kakhramonov were those three letters on the gloves.

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“Once you make it to the UFC, people will start hearing you, they will start treating you different,” he said. “You have respect, you have power, you have a voice. Life changes. It's like a ticket for Heaven pretty much.”

But before Heaven, he had to find his way back to the States. It was Tuesday in Uzbekistan. The fight was Saturday.

Saidyokub Kakhramonov of Uzbekistan kicks Trevin Jones of Guam in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Saidyokub Kakhramonov of Uzbekistan kicks Trevin Jones of Guam in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“I was like, ‘I'll take it, let's go,’” said Kakhramonov, sure of his intentions but not so sure of how he was going to make it all work. The next few hours were a blur, to both Kakhramonov and his family.

“Everybody was confused,” said. “They're like ‘What the heck is going on? What do you mean you have to go?’ Everybody was confused and I was confused. I was just like, ‘I can't explain, but I have to book my ticket, I have to get my COVID test, and I need to make this happen right away.’”

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The next day was even blurrier, as Kakhramonov began his journey back to the States.

“It was crazy,” he said. “I missed my flight, I left my baggage in Moscow Airport. There was a lot going on, but I made it. And as soon as I made it, I knew already that the hardest fight was on the road and that the fight on Saturday is just a bonus.”

Saidyokub Kakhramonov of Uzbekistan attempts to secure a guillotine choke submission against Trevin Jones of Guam in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Saidyokub Kakhramonov of Uzbekistan attempts to secure a guillotine choke submission against Trevin Jones of Guam in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

One fight down, Kakhramonov came up short on the next one, missing the weight for the bout at 138.5 pounds. If anyone had a good excuse, it was the Samarkand native, but he doesn’t blame it on anything but it just being one of those days.

“I missed weight and I never missed weight in my life,” he said. “My last fight, I made 134.5 for a championship fight, but I just didn't have enough time. I don't like to make excuses, I'm not that person, but it just happened. It was one of those days that you can't really do anything about it. But the fight part, I loved it. It's crazy, but I do love it.”

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He had a lot to love, going in against a surging foe in Jones and finishing him in the third round with a guillotine choke. It was Kakhramonov’s third straight win as he improved to 9-2 as a pro, and now, he was a UFC fighter.

“The fight was the best part ever,” he said. “I felt like an alpha male in there. A good thing is that it was at the APEX, so it was not in a big arena, and I think that helped me a lot, too. I thought I was gonna be more nervous, more scared, and honestly, I was more nervous and more scared for my last fight. I feel like this fight happened so fast, I had no time to be nervous. I was just like, ‘I'm walking to the cage, whatever, let's go.’ (Laughs) That's how I felt. It felt very natural to me because I've been on stages like that before. But I knew I had to perform because it was my chance.”

Saidyokub Kakhramonov Gets A Late Submission | UFC FIght Night: Cannonier vs Gastelum
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He hit his mark when it mattered most, and now he can look forward to life in one of the sport’s toughest divisions. But he’s not blinking.

“They don't have the same mentality that I have,” Kakhramonov said. “Within two years I think I can be Top 10, Top 5. That's my humble opinion. I'm not trying to be cocky. There's a lot of talent, a lot of good fighters, but I stand out from them.”

That’s the good part for Saidyokub Kakhramonov. The bad? Vacation is over.

“Of course,” he laughs. “It's over.”