'Turkish Mike Tyson'? Gokhan Saki sounds more like Turkish Conor McGregor after UFC debut

SAITAMA, Japan Some fight fans call Gokhan Saki the “Turkish Mike Tyson,” but the newly minted UFC light heavyweight spoke a lot more like Conor McGregor after a successful octagon debut at UFC Fight Night 117.“I stopped for two-and-a-half years, and I’m not back just to take part in the UFC and tell people I’m a UFC fighter,” Saki told reporters after his thrilling first-round knockout of Henrique da Silva. “I’m here to take over.”The UFC lightweight champ owner of that famous slogan would be proud. But really, what more can you say if you’re Saki (1-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who chose to come out of retirement to fight in a mostly unfamiliar sport? Why would you want to do anything less than see how far you could go?
“I’m here to knock people out,” Saki continued at at Saitama Super Arena, which hosted the FXX-televised event. “This is what I’m missing in my life. That’s why I’m here. I’m ready for any fight.”
Saki could have returned to kickboxing, where he’d held a Glory title until the promotion stripped him for inactivity. A banger like him would never struggle to find work, and yet he decided to give this MMA thing a try, risking another embarrassment like the one he suffered when he stepped into the cage in 2004.
Just a few minutes into his first MMA fight in 13 years, it became very apparent that Saki had a lot of work to do on his cage conditioning, which is an entirely different thing compared to kickboxing. Da Silva(12-4 MMA, 2-4 UFC) surged back and looked like he might have a high profile upset on his hands.
That is, until Saki’s left arced to his jaw and laid him out on the mat.
“When you get hit, that’s not a good feeling,” Saki said. “But when I get hit, I love to give two or three back. That was the situation today.”
As it turned out, Saki only trained twice a week for three months, so he was worried that his sudden return to combat sports would break his body. He didn’t even spar with MMA gloves.
“I didn’t train that much, because I was scared to get injuries,” Saki said. “So I took everything slowly.”
Going forward, he said, that’s going to change. Those small gloves will go on for his training camps. He’ll use headgear. He’ll keep wrestling, which paid huge dividends when Silva tried to take him down.
At 33, Saki has a good chance to make a run in the light heavyweight division, which has suffered from a rapidly aging group for several years. He welcomes any opponent the UFC might have.
And, he’s got a message.
“Be ready, mother(expletive),” Saki said. “I’m coming. I’m here. Today was a good test for me; it was a good fight.”For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 117, check out the UFC Events section of the site.












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