UFC heavyweight Jairzinho Rozenstruik may be Suriname’s biggest export. At least in terms of professional sports.
The hard-hitting kickboxer returns this weekend in the UFC Vegas 20 main event, taking on undefeated prospect Ciryl Gane. Part of a busy month for the heavyweight division, Rozenstruik (11-1) will look to build on a win over former champ Junior Dos Santos in his last outing.
Ahead of the fight, Rozenstruik relocated full time to Florida, where he has been training with American Top Team. The reasoning for the move is simple, he explained during the UFC Vegas 20 virtual media day this week. The move was “especially for my career. I want to focus this three, four years just only on my career and learning the MMA game,” said Rozenstruik. “Of course I’m a big deal at home, but in Florida it’s started happening also. And right now I’m having a headliner, so all the attention is on me, and winning this fight this Saturday will make it better than anything.”
“I had a good training camp at American Top Team,” Rozenstruik later added. He’s been working with former Strikeforce camp King Mo, among others. Admittedly, Rozenstruik didn’t want to make the move to ATT. For one, “they have a lot of heavyweights,” so “Bigi Boy” was concerned about having to fight them in future. His manager convinced him to make the move. “I went, I checked it out, and I was lost in the place. So many bodies, the coaches focusing on you. I went there before the fight with Alistair [Overeem], I had only two weeks, and they helped me with my preparation, to go in that fight and still win that fight.”
Rozenstruik won that bout by knockout in the dying seconds in the fight, in one of the moment memorable bouts of 2019. After posting a 1-1 record in 2020, he’s hoping for another strong showing against Gane. “I think it’s an interesting fight,” he said of the match-up. “The guy does what he does, he wins his fights, you have to respect that. I see what he does, and that’s why I take him seriously.”
Still, he warned, “this Saturday is going to be a different type of fight. Does he really want to go? I’m ready, I’m in shape, so it doesn’t matter. Let’s make it happen.”
And should he get a win, Rozenstruik wants to stay active in a suddenly extremely competitive heavyweight division. One with Alexander Volkov, Derrick Lewis, and Jon Jones all vying for a shot at the winner of Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou 2.
“I think a win this Saturday will keep me right where I want to be, in the top five,” stated Rozenstruik, “and I want to make a quick turnaround, and have a title fight after that.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 20 (UFC Fight Night 186) virtual media day scrum with Jairzinho Rozenstruik above. The event takes place this Saturday, February 27 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV.