‘I'll train with Conor's team for my MMA debut’ – famous McGregor lookalike Badurgov (VIDEO)
Kazakh street workout star Islam Badurgov, who made global headlines last summer after his famous prank video in which he pretended to be Conor McGregor, exclusively told RT Sport that he plans his own MMA debut in 2018.
Badurgov, 27, said that he never imagined that last summer’s McGregor video – which was far from being his first prank – would end up gaining him so much attention.
“Following my first prank video, in which I was working out in an old man look, and which gained some views, my friend from Omsk, Konstantin Albukov, told me to try to make the same thing, but with a McGregor look. I had no idea how it was going to work. But after we gave it a try, my recognition went sky high.
“Then we did it again in New York, where it got an even bigger reaction. Those pranks eventually helped us to meet Conor McGregor in person, and establish some sort of connection.”
Badurgov was talking to RT Sport on Sunday during a visit to Moscow, where among other things he came to take a part in a workout battle with the Russian capital’s own workout star Igor Voitenko, in his newly-opened Road To The Dream gym.
In the first competition, Voitenko showed better results in the bench press, registering 200 reps with his own body weight (75kg/165lb) quicker than Badurgov, who was pressing his weight of 72kg (158lb).
The Kazakhstan native, however, outdid his Moscow rival in the pull-ups contest which followed. Within two minutes, he recorded 43 reps against Voitenko’s 31 – meaning the scores were level at 1-1 in the battle.
“This was my last event related to the workout,” Badurgov confessed after the contest was over.
“This year I’ll make my MMA debut. So now I’m fully focusing on MMA training. Here in Moscow for the last week I was training with former M-1 Global (lightweight) champion Abukar Yandiev.”
But Badurgov’s preparations won’t be limited to his Moscow camp. According to the aspiring MMA fighter, his team’s next stop will be at the gym of the person who helped take the Kazakh’s recognition to another level.
“Now my team and I are flying over to Ireland to train with Conor McGregor and his coach John Kavanagh, with Artem Lobov, who is our friend also. Sometime ago we’ve become friends with Artem, who also showed our prank video to Conor, they both liked it. And now we’ve agreed to visit their gym to train together.”
His manager Amir Allahverdi says that his friend and client already has a number of offers on his hands for an MMA debut.
“We have offers from Russian and American MMA promotions. But I can’t give you any certain information, as we’re still in talks with them. Now we’re flying to Ireland to train with Conor McGregor’s team, at the invitation of Artem Lobov. And while training there we’ll continue talks about the debut.”
While Badurgov’s manager says he is confident in his client’s “character and explosive power gained by the years of street workout training,” he is realistic regarding his fighting level.
“It’s will be his debut, so we hope for matchmakers to find him a suitable opponent. We are not looking to face the top guys (laughing).”
Former M-1 Global lightweight champion Abukar Yandiev, who is in talks about making a potential UFC debut and was also among the guests at the Moscow event, confirmed that Badurgov’s workout base provided him with the much-needed strength and explosive power required in MMA.
However, he also realizes that the transition will take some time.
“When I was moving from judo to MMA, it took around five month for my muscles to adapt. So I would recommend taking some time before making his [Badurgov’s] debut.”
While it’s currently unclear where and when Badurgov will make his MMA debut, RT Sport will continue to bring you inside news on his Irish training camp.
by Denis Geyko for RT Sport