Uali Kurzhev Interview: Bringing Sambo To The Western World

In our first sambo interview with Andrei Kubarkov, we established how sambo was a growing sport. Kubarkov won gold at the 2019 Tatarstan President’s Tournament at 52 kilograms. In another attempt to familiarize westerners with the mysterious sport of sambo, we took it a step further. Uali Kurzhev. Kurzhev won gold at the 2019 Sambo World Championship in the 74 kilo weight class.

Uali Kurzhev started, as many combat sports athletes have, at a young age. “Mom brought us to the fight at the age of six.” Kurzhev continues, “This is the third world championship that I won, I’m glad!” Now a three time world champion, Kurzhev is at the top of the sport, a long way from the day he first stepped on the mat as a young boy.

Outside of sambo, Kurzhev is a football (that’s soccer for my American readers) fan. “I love football and play and watch! I read books and like to watch movies.”

Uali Kurzhev Future Goals

As for his future goals, Kurzhev hopes to grow sambo’s popularity across the globe and hopes to fight well without losing. “[I hope to] popularize sambo, show a beautiful fight and win all competitions!”

As for the popularity part, Kurzhev hopes to bring sambo to the biggest stage in the world. “At the moment I’m dreaming to win the Sambo Olympics. I hope that will come true soon.”

The work never ends for a combat sports player. Uali Kurzhev has won gold at the World Championships and already has his eyes set on his next goal. “Now I am resting after the World Cup! Soon preparations for the Championship of Russia [will begin]. At the moment the goal of the championship of Russia.” The key word there is “at the moment.” Kurzhev will complete a goal and move on to his next one.

Mixed Martial Arts?

With MMA and Khabib Nurmagomedov having soaring success, sambo has been a goldmine for the UFC, PFL, and the other big promotions across the sport. Having a three time sambo world champion in anyone’s welterweight division would send a warning to the top of the division. Uali Kurzhev isn’t set on joining an MMA promotion, but his options are open. “I like to watch UFC fights, I follow all the cards! I don’t know yet, but maybe in the future I’ll try myself in mixed martial arts.”

Be sure to follow Uali Kurzhev on Instagram to follow his sambo career!

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