PFL Championship: Denis Goltsov Hoping to Put His Name on the Map with Title Win

Coming out of this year’s playoffs, 2023 PFL heavyweight finalist Denis Goltsov is in a very good position.

Russia’s Goltsov (32-7) is coming off a big finish against Jordan Heiderman, his third stoppage victory of the year. All three came inside the first round.

“Everything kind of worked out in my favor. The fight worked out pretty good in stand-up, I was able to catch him with some shots. And then that forced him to come into the clinch and wrestle, where we felt him and did some damage there as well,” Goltsov told Cageside Press in a recent exclusive interview. He would go on to win the fight with an arm triangle choke. “In all seriousness, it was not an easy fight, Jordan is very tough, he’s a very durable, very tough guy. It was definitely a challenge. We’re moving forward, that was a win, now we’re looking for other things.”

Other things would be the PFL heavyweight title, and the million dollars that would come with the win. The championship bout takes place on November 24 in Washington, D.C., and the 39-fight veteran hopes that with a victory, he’ll be able to finally put his name on the map.

“For me right now, the very important thing speaking as a veteran of mixed martial arts is to finally put myself on the map and become a world champion. That title, of becoming PFL heavyweight world champion, it speaks huge volumes. That’s something that’s going to be stamped in the history [books]. For me, that’s the biggest goal, that’s what I’m looking [at] accomplishing in the next fight. That’s the whole goal in general, to establish myself and put myself on the map, put my last name on the map on the world stage.”

That will be no easy feat. Brazil’s Renan Ferreira is the man who will be standing across from Goltsov in Washington this November. It’s not an entirely unexpected development, “The Russian Bogatyr” admitted.

“I think it was one of the most obvious choices. I thought that he was going to be in the finals as long as he didn’t receive some lucky knockout or some lucky shot by one of the other fighters,” said Goltsov. “I think he would be the obvious choice going into the finals.”

As to what you can expect in the fight, “he’s a heavy-duty striker, and I’m a very heavy-duty, intelligent striker too. You will definitely see some stuff happening on the feet,” Goltsov stated. “It’s going to be a very exciting fight.

There is, of course, another potential benefit to winning the 2023 PFL heavyweight championship. Recently signed free agent Francis Ngannou awaits, and a big payday will go to the winner. While the promotion could always look externally for talent, whoever is heavyweight champ come November will almost certainly be in the running.

“Whoever wins, whoever becomes champion, there’s definitely a very big opportunity fighting somebody like Francis Ngannou,” noted Goltsov. “Especially, he said it himself, his opponent would get north of two million dollars per fight, fighting him. So of course that would be a great opportunity for the heavyweight PFL champion.”

Watch our full interview with 2023 PFL Championship heavyweight finalist Denis Goltsov above.