Former kickboxing champion Gokhan Saki made the most of his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut, knocking out Henrique da Silva at UFC Fight Night 117 last month.
Now, he’ll look to make it two in a row as he will make a quick turnaround to face Khalil Rountree at the upcoming UFC 219 event on Dec. 30, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. And while Gokhan sees Khalil as a good fighter, at the end of the day he doesn’t come close to his skill level.
That said, when it comes down to it, Saki says Rountree will take it to the ground as soon as possible. On that note, the striker says all of his future opponents will have to brush up on their wrestling moving forward, which will make wrestling coaches plenty of money.
“Khalil is a hard worker, I think. He’s a nice fighter, but with me, I’m sure he’s going to try and wrestle,” Saki told MMA Fighting. “I think a lot of wrestling coaches are going to thank me because they can make big money now. Everybody will want private wrestling lessons now because they don’t want to fight me standing up.”
“His standup is nice. If you don’t know anything about striking his fighting style looks sick, but I’ve fought everybody. In my eyes, he tries to strike – I am a striker,” he added, comparing his skill-set to that of world-class soccer player Ronaldo, while Khalil is like your average Joe playing some soccer on a sunny day.
“It’s like I’m Ronaldo and he just plays football in the park with his friends.” No love for Leo Messi?
Still, Saki says he is working on his overall game ahead of his sophomore effort inside the Octagon.
“My wrestling is getting sick. I’m really happy with my progress because I feel I understand the game. My jiu-jitsu is coming on very well too,” he added. “My striking technique is even improving and I’ve been going in with some big guys,” he said. “I will make him fight the way I want him to fight. This is my next step. I will make them all fight on my terms.”
And while his striking looked impressive in Saitama, Japan to the surprise of no one, Saki says he wasn’t training much in that area and says the best is yet to come.
“What you saw in Japan, my kickboxing was maybe 35 percent. I didn’t train much kickboxing ahead of the fight because I had to learn so many different things in such a short time. There was too much to do, he added. “Now, I understand the game more and the way I need to train. Now I’m making time for everything and in a smart way.”