Nazim Sadykhov arrived to Brooklyn, New York, with his family from Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, when he was six years old. He had been practicing in karate for about three years. For this reason, Sadykhov, now 28, calls himself a “lifelong mixed martial artist.”
But it was difficult for him, too, to persuade his loved ones that he should pursue a career in mixed martial arts.
“I think that every fighter, at one point or another, has to go through something like that, has to explain that this is really what I want to do (and that) it’s not just something that you do on the weekend, and it’s cool,”
“To force people to believe that you’re going to make a career out of this is very difficult.”
However, Sadykhov managed to do so, and his efforts have paid off to the point that the UFC has come knocking on his door. Sadykhov takes on Ahmad Hassanzada in a lightweight encounter at Dana White’s Contender Series 50 on Tuesday night. Sadykhov will get a UFC deal if he wins in front of UFC president Dana White in a convincing fashion.
Six wins in a row got Long Island’s Sadykhov (6-1), a member of Longo-Weidman MMA, to this point; his only loss came in his pro debut in November 2018. There have been five stoppages in his six victories, including his most recent victory, a 55-second knockout at Fury FC 59 in March.
Sadykhov’s MMA career has not been without its share of down points in addition to the high points. He suffered “a load of injuries,” including a fractured rib and a broken hand, in March 2020, right as the COVID-19 epidemic began. Perhaps Sadykhov would have had his shot in the UFC sooner if not for a “string of bad luck” (he’s also had COVID-19 times).
“I can’t say that it caught me off guard,” Sadykhov said. “This is what I’m here for. I stepped through Serra-Longo’s doors in March 2019, and I came here with one sole mission – and that’s to be a world champion. Obviously there’s steps to it. … Three years later, I’m at the doorstep of my first goal, which is getting to the UFC.”