Latvian-Canadian light heavyweight Misha Cirkunov (15-5) is one of several fighters returning from lengthy layoffs at UFC Vegas 21 this Saturday.
“I feel great, ready to go, healed up, no issues. Excited for Saturday night,” the 11th-ranked 205lb’er told Cageside Press ahead of his fight with Ryan Spann, speaking at the event’s virtual media day. Which is good news. Cirkunov (15-5) will be competing for the the first time during the coronavirus pandemic, which makes Saturday his first time fighting without fans. His first time going through the UFC’s COVID-19 protocols as well.
“It’s actually not bad. I thought it was going to be worse, but we have really good accommodations,” Cirkunov said in regards to the new style of Fight Week.
In terms of the fans being absent, the light heavyweight explained that “sometimes when you have big crowds you cannot hear your coaches at all, especially by the time we get to the main card, co-main event.” That’s a problem that has plagued Cirkunov before. “[With] all the fans that are really wild, it would be really hard to hear my coaches.”
And then there’s the role fans play in the fight itself. “Sometimes the crowd is cheering you up, sometimes you might do certain things that you normally would not do,” Cirkunov observed. “I think overall, it’s going to be a good experience, and I’m going to perform really well. All the fans are still able to see the fight on the TV, so it’s kind of like, everyone gets to enjoy the fight.”
As for his time away, dealing with injury, Cirkunov is not dwelling on it. “Sometimes, you know how the say, you can’t stress about things you can’t control? That’s what it was,” he stated. “I was still watching fights, I was still training, doing whatever I could. Trying to learn new things, I would study more striking, I would study more techniques for MMA.”
His mind was still occupied while he was healing, added Cirkunov. “I knew the day would come. And here I am. The day is almost here. We’re really close to the fight, and I’m very excited to be on a main card as the co-main event. It’s a great opportunity against a great competitor, and you guys will see a very complete two 205’ers not just looking to stand and bang, but you’ll see the full-on MMA fight at 205.”
Wrestling, striking, everything. “I think it’s going to be one of the more exciting fights at 205 that we’ve seen in a while.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 21 virtual media day scrum with Misha Cirkunov above. The event takes place this Saturday, March 13 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.