German-born Georgian featherweight Niko Samsonidse has worked his way back to a title shot on a big stage, after suffering a horrific leg break just a little over two years ago.
It was the sort of Anderson Silva, Chris Weidman, Conor McGregor break that no one wants to see; a devastating blow that had Samsonidse carried out of the cage on a stretcher.
Yet after that May 2021 injury, Samsonidse (10-2) stayed positive, despite doctors suggesting he may never fight again. Now 28, “One Love” opened up about his recovery in a recent interview with Cageside Press, and said he no longer has any qualms about the leg.
“To be honest the first fight was the perfect test for me, because I threw the leg, the kicks quite often my first comeback fight,” said Samsonidse, who returned to action this past April. “That proved to me everything was fine, being good. I’m not even thinking about my leg, about the injury itself when I’m fighting or when I’m kicking.”
“I’m pretty confident,” Samsonidse added ahead of his Oktagon 50 title fight with Losene Keita. “I had a big roller coaster, like two years, where doctors were telling me that I probably can’t even fight anymore, need another operation. But happily I’m back, I can fight, and after two fights I’m already fighting for the title. I can’t be more happy, I really appreciate all what happened in the last year, and now I try to finish the year off with the belt around my waist.”
Despite the concerns of his doctors, Niko Samsonidse himself never doubt that he’d return to the cage. “I would describe myself as a quite optimistic guy, so I always had the hope to be able to fight again. I always tried to make everything possible that I could be back in the cage.”
Having won his first two fights back, both for Oktagon MMA, it’s on to bigger things. Now, he enters a five-round affair for the vacant featherweight title against Keita, whose only loss came by way of injury. The extra rounds have changed up training for Samsonidse just a little.
“For sure, having in mind that it could be a five-rounder, we prepared also with a big focus on conditioning,” he acknowledged. “But that was never like a big issue for me, so we kept that in mind, but still more specifically prepared for the opponent himself.”
When it comes to opponent Keita, who has held gold in Oktagon before, “I have all the respect for him,” Samsonidse stated. “He’s a good fighter. Nice to watch, athletic, explosive. So for sure a guy who needs to be respected, but let’s go. Wait for Saturday, let’s wait for some nice action in there.”
Watch our full interview with Oktagon 50 headliner Niko Samsonidse above.