Top European featherweight Martin Svensson (14-5) stirs emotion in the MMA community. Mostly negative if judging by the comments on various MMA sites. Even UFC president Dana White was so provoked by Svenssons appearance that he coined one of Sweden’s most epic fighter nicknames; Big Fucking Swedish Svensson, during the The Ultimate Fighter 14 try-outs where he strongly doubted Svensson’s ability to make weight. "You’re fucking huge, you’re a monster, you’re enormous. There’s no way you’ll make 145 lbs", White told the Swede who characteristically sure of himself replied that he had made it before: "Twice. Three times, four times."
Since then Svensson has successfully fought as a featherweight several times and has been highly ranked in the weight division for quite a while. Still he does not get much credit back home in Sweden and as soon as his name is mentioned in an MMA article haters get to hating. Svensson recently announced that he is giving The Ultimate Fighter another go as he is heading to Las Vegas for the Season 22 try-outs and possibly a spot in the international MMA limelight. For this reason I decided to solve the mystery of why a seemingly normal young martial artist has become so unpopular in his home country.
I give you the complete list of things to hate about Martin Big Fucking Swedish Svensson:
1. He is from the south. A Swedish redneck. Nobody likes a redneck. Maybe it’s the funny way he talks or maybe it’s the ease by which he retains contraband from neighboring countries.
2. He cuts a lot of weight. A LOT. Like 35 lbs. "Why don’t you pick on somebody your own size?" officers of justice shouts. "He never makes weight", the rest chime in after the debacle with muscle cramps prior to the Niklas Bäckström fight.
3. He is cocky. Svensson can be perceived as kind of cocky. Because well, he is. He called out fellow Swede Reza Madadi for a shot at a UFC fight and he stepped in as matchmaker for premier European MMA promotion Cage Warriors in order to put himself in title contention. This allegedly rendered him a slap on the wrist by CW management.
4. He is a former reality show participant. And I’m not talking about The Ultimate Fighter. Granted, it wasn’t Jersey Shore or anything but still, who does he think he is? Sweden’s next Master Chef? And then getting eliminated for serving crispy bacon…
5. He is a grappler. Basically not a single flashy spinning technique in his whole arsenal and only one K.O. in 14 wins.
6. He has lost. Not once or twice but five times. Swedish MMA fans have a hard time accepting fighters with losses on their records. It’s really provoking with a guy who walks a crooked path towards the top, or even worse, never makes it there at all. Fun fact though: Two of his last three losses resulted in UFC contracts for the opponents.
I know the headline promised 10 reasons but I’m afraid I have to disappoint you here. I’ve listed six things to hate about Martin Svensson and I’m really struggling with finding more. Besides, I do not like to fighter bash, especially since I have to face the guy on a regular basis, so let us end this list on a more positive note. Here are four things to love about the dude.
1. He plays on his strengths. He is not a natural athlete but a damn hard worker. He has made cutting weight into an art form which gives him a huge size advantage and the opportunity to impose his will on opponents with a tight ground game. What he lacks in speed and agility he makes up for with pure power and this far it has worked out pretty well for him.
2. He is an entertainer. As a fighter he is always coming forward, looking for the finish on the feet as well as on the ground. He does not take himself too seriously, as proven by his hideous, washed-out, pink thai-shorts worn in the Robbie Olivier (20-10) Cage Warriors fight. Or when playing keyboard in former team mate Linus Andersson’s (0-1) promo video found on Youtube.
3. He does not have trouble making weight. He missed weight once in 19 tries and that time he suffered an infection that caused muscle cramps. Some say the seizures were caused by heavy dieting and I’m not one to argue. But I will say that Svensson has made weight six out of six times without any complications since then.
4. He is a really good dude. He sets an example for team mates with his friendly approach and great work ethic. He is a role model to the kids he teaches. He loves the sport and lives to compete. He is a phenomenal instructor and one hell of a fighter.
Martin Svensson should be close to a Cage Warriors featherweight title shot following two consecutive wins against high quality opposition in the organization. Unfortunately the future of CW is unclear and they seem to be on a forced hiatus at the moment. This is why it would be great to see Svensson in The Ultimate Fighter 22. And with the move up to lightweight Dana White will have a hard time arguing he is too big. In my opinion he would be perfect for the show and at 155 a real threat to anyone. If Martin makes it into the house he would be the third Swede to do so (Hamid Corrasani (12-6) and Tor Troeng (16-7) having been there previously) and thusly help solidify Sweden as one of Europe’s leading MMA countries. But more importantly, it would make for some darn good tv.
Hate him or love him. But be sure to watch him.