Abu Dhabi, UAE — As far as octagon debuts go, Shavkat Rakhmonov drew a tough one at UFC 254.
The Uzbekistan-born welterweight, fighting out of Kazakhstan, submitted Brazilian “Cowboy” Alex Oliveira on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi. That helped “Nomad” maintain his perfect record, now 13-0. With Oliveira in his nineteenth UFC bout overall, it was also a tremendous way for Rakhmonov to make a first impression with fans.
It should also lead to bigger things moving forward. And Rakhmonov now has another Cowboy in mind, he said following the fight. “To be honest, I really want to fight in Vegas in USA,” he said backstage on Saturday, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press. Calling it his dream, Rakhmonov added “we’ll see how it’s gonna work with visas and stuff like that. And yeah, it’s only going to get even more serious from that. You know, I beat a tough opponent. I did a Brazilian cowboy, and maybe American Cowboy’s next.”
Asked why he’s targeting a match-up with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Rakhmonov replied that “I really respect him a lot. Basically I was growing up watching his fights, but we’re next generations and I want to fight him because I know I can hang with him, and I know I can beat him. That’s why.”
“He’s a very good fighter, very well known in the world. It will be a great fight,” Rakhmonov added.
Watch the full UFC 254 post-fight press scrum with Shavkat Rakhmonov above.