Chechen born Mamed Khalidov enjoys unheralded stardom in Poland as an MMA fighter. Under the KSW banner, he has managed to boost his promotion’s ratings and develop into a homegrown talent that captured the imagination of the Polish crowds in attendance.
Unbeaten since 2010, Khalidov holds submission wins over the likes of James Irvin, Matt Lindland, Kendall Grove, Melvin Manhoef and Brett Cooper over the past five years. His resume coupled with an impressive 30-4-2 record got Khalidov noticed by several North American promotions, including the UFC, Strikeforce and Bellator. However, while many fans salivated over the potential match-up for Khalidov in a promotion like the UFC, the deal never came to fruition for a multitude of reasons that varied depending on the promotion.
In an interview with ValeTudo.ru, Khalidov delved into the various offers he received from North American promotions and explained his decision to remain in Poland.
“Strikeforce ceased to exist,” said Khalidov. “I do not remember how it happened. As for the UFC, many aspire to fight there but it is not so simple. I helped raise and develop the sport in Poland. Now it has become very popular there. I put in a lot of hard work and have been in the Top 10 in the world rankings and, accordingly, have reached a good financial situation.”
Khalidov added that Bellator was also involved in the sweepstakes, as the Chechen was offered a spot in one of their tournaments several years ago.
“Negotiations with Bellator were long ago. I was offered to take part in the tournament. But I was not interested because I only wanted to fight for the belt.”
Unable to secure a title shot in Bellator, Khalidov set his sights on the UFC, yet that ambitious endeavor was short lived.
“It was interesting to work with the UFC, and after a fight with Rodney Wallace, I officially announced that I wanted to go to them. But I will not hide the truth: as a result of negotiations, we could not agree on financial matters. I expected a different approach.”
According to various reports at the time, the UFC’s offer for Khalidov was approximately $20,000 to show and another $20,000 to win, which was far less than he received from KSW. While he was disappointed with their inability to reach an agreement at the time, Khalidov revealed that he is satisfied with his achievements and status in Poland.
“I train with UFC fighters and have long understood what the level is there. In sporting terms, I have found my place. My dream was to perform in Pride, which, unfortunately, ceased to exist. KSW organization is very similar to Pride. My dream has come true.”
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