Phoenix, AZ — After two years on the sidelines, Bulgarian heavyweight Blagoy Ivanov returned to action at UFC 274 on Saturday, and got the job done.
Showing little in the way of ring rust, Ivanov went toe-to-toe with hard-hitting Brazilian Marcos Rogerio de Lima, who was coming in off a finish of “Big” Ben Rothwell. Despite eating some seriously heavy punches, Ivanov’s chin proved up to the task.
“It’s a good question, yeah,” Ivanov said when asked backstage whether he had the toughest chin in MMA. It’s an even more interesting question when you consider Ivanov has gone the distance with Rothwell, Derrick Lewis, Junior Dos Santos, and other heavy hitters. “I think they have a few more heavyweights that have never been down, like Francis [Ngannou]. But yeah, my chin is good.”
It was, and so was Ivanov, who had Lima hurt at times in the fight. He improved his record to 19-4, 1NC, and told media outlets including Cageside Press that he felt good following the bout.
“I feel good. It was a tough fight. I was [out] like two years [on a] layoff, it’s a good comeback. Rogerio, he’s a tough guy,” said Ivanov. As to why he’d been laid up so long, “I got some injuries I had to fix,” he stated. “This is why. Right now I’m on the right track, and I have to just keep going.”
That said, Ivanov does want a bit of time off after his latest win, which snapped a two-fight skid. “I want to do some vacationing right now. I started preparing for this fight like December, so I need a little break. In three months, I think I’m going to be good.”
Watch the full UFC 274 post-fight press scrum with Blagoy Ivanov above. More coverage from the event can be found below.