Amir Sadollah has transformed himself from a green MMA fighter to a seasoned veteran in front of the entire world.
After joining The Ultimate Fighter with no prior professional experience to his credit, Sadollah (6-2) went on to claim the title and the UFC contract that went with it.
Now, eight fights into his pro career, the 31-year-old feels like he must continue to improve each day, or risk being overtaken by the younger crop of fighters entering the sport.
“It MMA, you’ll never be bored and it will never be mundane,” said Sadollah, who will meet Duane Ludwig this Sunday at UFC on Versus 5. “You will always need to push yourself as hard as you ever had. I like the hard road. The first training session was such a draw for me because it was the first thing in my life where if you wanted something bad enough and if you worked hard enough you could go and get it.”
Sadollah, a Sambo and Muay Thai fighter, has added several important skills to his arsenal while training at Xtreme Couture.
“At Xtreme Couture, all the guys there have such good ground and pound, control from the top and strikes from the top, so it’s kind of just something I picked up,” said Sadollah, who stopped DaMarques Johnson with elbows this past March to earn a second-round victory. “My theory and the theory of the people I work with is that you always want to be training to impose your will. I’m always trying to improve my wrestling, and it’s definitely a focus of mine. I’m always trying to be dominant on top and land strikes, so that win was definitely gratifying.”
Sadollah and Ludwig (28-11) could put on quite the show for fans in attendance and watching live, as “Bang” is a former professional kickboxer.
“It’s a fight I’m excited for because he’s a high level striker and that’s something I want to be,” Sadollah said. “That’s how you get better and that’s how you show that you are a high level at something; you fight someone who has a high skill level at that something. He seems to be more of a counter fighter type, but I try to make no assumptions about a fighter. I think you have a general idea about how a fighter fights a fight, but you don’t really know until you get in there and do it.”
Sadollah, though, was quick to point out he will do anything it takes to win.
“I joked about it when I first heard about that match that I’ll go straight to him with a double leg. I think stylistically I like to stand up and he likes to stand up, so in theory it should be exciting,” Sadollah said. “I expect fireworks.”
UFC on Versus 5 takes place this Sunday, August 14 from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Don’t forget to check back on Sunday for FightLine.com’s live coverage of the event.