After a first round submission of Patrick Cummins at UFC Moncton, light heavyweight Misha Cirkunov wants his bosses to know that he’s aiming high.
Moncton, NB — He may not have shown it, but Misha Cirkunov was certainly feeling the pressure heading into UFC Moncton over the weekend. The light heavyweight had lost two straight, to Volkan Oezdemir and Glover Teixeira. He’d relocated his camp, from Toronto to Las Vegas. His wife was sick. His back was against the wall.
Relief came in a first round submission of Patrick Cummins on Saturday night at the Avenir Centre. “Honestly, I didn’t think I can finish him in the first round,” Cirkunov admitted to reporters including Cageside Press following the bout. “I just knew that I represented this country [Canada] in four different sports. Judo, wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, and now mixed martial arts. So my ground game is very very strong. Just because you’re a good strong wrestler and you try to take me down, you still go into my world.”
Still, Cirkunov was not expecting that first round stoppage, “because I know he’s very durable, very strong, and he gets out of positions very quick.” Luckily, it worked out. “It was a good position,” he told us of the end sequence. “I tried to land some elbows from the mount, and once he put that forearm right on my neck, that’s when I knew he was coming too close to my danger zones. And that’s exactly where I was able to catch him, and capitalize on it.”
“Power and strength is good, but you have to have some tricks behind it,” Cirkunov pointed out. “In this case, he kind of tried to overpower things, and that kind of went towards me.”
Saying that he went through something similar to a depression following his last two fights, both losses, there’s no doubt that Cirkunov has battled his way back here. “I definitely feel like an improved fighter. I think this performance kind of solidifies that.”
In the octagon after his win over Cummins, Cirkunov called out Volkan Oezdemir. That reiterated a theme he touched on during media day earlier in the week. Oezdemir represents Cirkunov’s first UFC loss. It’s a fight he very much wants back, though Cirkunov is practical about it.
“I know Volkan, I went through two losses, and it’s a little bit not fair because he was doing so good,” Cirkunov admitted. “I just want him to know I’m going to be climbing back, and I want UFC to know that my aim is really high.”
“I know in the future we’ll dance again,” he said. “I’m sure he’s not going to be the next guy, obviously, but in the future, a couple more wins for me, if it’s another impressive win, then I don’t see why not.”