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19 Oct, 2020 12:44

'They wanted to take our PASSPORTS': Georgian UFC star Jojua sleeps on CHAIRS in TWELVE-HOUR airport ordeal on way to Fight Island

'They wanted to take our PASSPORTS': Georgian UFC star Jojua sleeps on CHAIRS in TWELVE-HOUR airport ordeal on way to Fight Island

Georgian UFC flyweight Liana Jojua endured a wait in Cairo on her way to UFC 254, sleeping on chairs and worrying about her weight cut while her team refused a request from officials to hand their passports over for 12 hours.

The "She Wolf" has revealed that she suffered a stuttering build-up to fight week ahead of her scrap with Miranda Maverick on Saturday, finding herself marooned at Cairo Airport for 12 hours in a delay that temporarily interrupted her preparations ahead of her arrival in Abu Dhabi.

She eventually arrived and went through a two-day quarantine before familiarizing herself with her surroundings and meeting fellow Georgian Guram Kutateladze, who edged out Mateusz Gamrot at Fight Island 6 on Saturday.

"We were stuck in Cairo for 12 hours," an unimpressed Jojua told Tass. "We slept right on the chairs.

"I still started to lose weight – it was unpleasant. They wanted to take our passports for the entire period but we did not give them up."

The 25-year-old could consider her hitch a good omen. In July, her luggage was lost by the airline when she was on her way to a Fight Island from her base in Istanbul ahead of a brutal victory over Romania's Diana Belbita.

Some of her team were also unable to attend that contest due to Covid-19 restrictions, so Jojua is familiar with overcoming unexpected hardships in pursuit of more UFC victories.

She posed in ripped jeans in front of a wall full of scrawls from previous visitors after arriving on the island, including a noticeable message from Gamrot's team, who had suffered a split decision defeat to Kutateladze 48 hours earlier.

Standing next to the lightweight in a pair of shorts and low-cut top while he put an arm around her shoulders, Jojua said she was glad to see her compatriot and hoped he would "pass on the victory baton".

Jojua also showed off her skills on the beach next to a sign for the promotion, tested out the octagon, went for a bike ride and took part in a photoshoot as she shrugged off her transport troubles to look ahead to her test against pre-fight favorite Maverick.

She is hoping that Maverick will provide more of a showcase for her skills after rapidly beating Belbita by submission despite only having a month to prepare for her first UFC win.

Having lost on her debut, Jojua needed less than a round to earn a sixth armbar win of her career.

"I don’t want to fight just for the sake of," she told RT Sport afterwards. "I want to show the best version of myself.

"I put a lot of effort into dropping down to flyweight and being in shape for this fight.

"It’s good that Dana White pays attention to me but I have to put myself first because it’s my career.

"If my career goes south then nobody will care about me, so I’m doing what’s best for me."

Also on rt.com 'Shevchenko is better than some men': UFC's Liana Jojua talks ambitions after impressing on Fight Island (VIDEO)