Rising lightweight David Teymur (6-1) took his UFC record to a perfect 3-0 after an impressive victory over Lando Vannata at UFC 209. The Swede hopes to keep his run going at this weekend’s UFC 218, in a match-up with fellow upstart Drakkar Klose (8-0-1).
“I was really happy,” Teymur told Bloody Elbow, regarding his unanimous decision win over Vannata in April. “I heard the audience; how excited they were for my fight. And they got what they wanted, an exciting fight. So I was really happy with that. Really happy.”
Teymur vs. Vannata scooped Fight of the Night honours at UFC 209. Teymur was also “really happy” about getting an additional $50,000 on top of his disclosed $14,000/$14,000 earnings for the bout.
“When I went out from the changing rooms, they came to me and said, ‘David, congratulations for the bonus,’” recalls Teymur. “I was delighted because all of the work I put down every single day. And also every day you have things like your car, petrol, rent, all this – so the bonus is helping me, for sure.”
Alongside the monetary gains his fight with Vannata provided, Teymur is also ecstatic that he succeeded in showing people his calibre as a fighter. He was an underdog in that contest. And, instead of talking up his potential, many were were singling out Vannata as the one to watch.
Teymur isn’t surprised that most the hype was behind his ‘Groovy’ opponent prior to UFC 209. “I was like; they don’t know me yet, all of these people. After this fight; they are going to know me better, because I know how good I am. And after the fight, I showed them, who I really am: David Teymur.”
The 28-year-old veteran of The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber came to MMA after a successful career in Muay Thai and kickboxing. He was national amateur champion in those sports in 2008, 2010, and 2012. As a pro kickboxer he compiled a record of 39-2.
In his first two UFC fights Teymur showed off his devastating striking, with stoppages over Jason Novelli and Martin Svensson. However, against Vannata, Teymur was able to show off an improved wrestling/grappling game; punctuated with decisive – and possible fight-winning – takedowns.
“A lot of people know my background is striking and Thai boxing,” said Teymur. “I did that for many years, but now I am doing MMA. I like to do takedowns and I’m working on this everyday. And I am working with high-level guys.”
Teymur is a member of Stockholm’s Allstars gym, along with UFC stalwarts Alexander Gustafsson, Ilir Latifi, and Jimi Manuwa. Though Teymur credits Allstars with helping him the most, the Swede also stated that his coach on TUF was extremely helpful in preparing him for his UFC career.
“I was with Conor McGregor in the house for The Ultimate Fighter and we spent a lot of good times together there. I showed my striking for him and he showed me good things, too.”
But, for his fight with Klose, Teymur only cited his Allstars “family” for getting him ready. Alan ‘Finfou’ Nascimento, a multiple IBJJF world champion, was especially helpful for Teymur during camp.
When it comes to wrestling, a UFC fan favourite was eager to help Teymur prepare for Klose. “Me and Ilir, we are training partners and we are very good friends. Of course he is much heavier than me, so it is like David against Goliath. But yeah, we are training together in the gym. He’s showing me good techniques and stuff like that.”
Asked about this Saturday’s opponent, Teymur said he has done only a small amount of scouting. “I have seen some of his fights. His last fight against Marc Diakiese. I saw that.”
Klose took a split decision over hot prospect Diakiese in July to remain undefeated and move to 2-0 in the UFC. Despite saying he did not know a lot about him, Teymur gave Klose some credit. “He’s a guy who tries to mix it all together. He likes to grind a lot, but he’s good. It’s going to be a good fight.”
You can see if Teymur’s prediction comes true on Saturday night. Teymur vs. Klose goes down on the prelim card of UFC 218. The prelims begin at 8PM ET on FS1.