Since his UFC debut in 2014, Mairbek Taisumov (27-5) has mostly remained under the radar in the lightweight division, building an impressive record while steadily climbing the ranks. Fans have become accustomed to his striking-heavy approach which has led to a number of highlight-reel knockouts making spectators eager to see him against the division’s elite.
However, in his last outing against Desmond Green last September in Russia, Taisumov didn’t look his usual self despite still earning a unanimous decision victory. He notably dropped Green in the second round but knew he didn’t display all of the skills he possesses. ‘Beckan’ also missed weight prior to that contest so all-in-all, Taisumov knew he didn’t show the best of himself during the whole of fight week but he was pleased to compete in front of his friends and family for the biggest MMA organisation around.
“I felt like I was slower and not as explosive compared to my previous fights,” said Taisumov. “That may have been because of too much weight training during my camp which I have now addressed. This time, my strength/conditioning coach and myself decided we shouldn’t lift as many weights and instead focus more on being explosive. I feel much better going into this upcoming fight.”
“Lifting so much last time out could well have contributed to me missing weight,” continued Taisumov. “To add to this, it may have been down to me unknowingly using tainted supplements at the same time but I can only speculate.”
The tainted supplements he referred to were flagged in an in-competition sample collected on the date of the aforementioned fight. Taisumov tested positive for a pair of stanozolol metabolites, 3′-hydroxystanozolol-O-glucuronide and 16β-hydroxystanozolol-O-glucuronide. However, after investigation, USADA ruled that dietary supplements he had been using were contaminated which only led to a six-month suspension. The 31-year-old revealed that his manager is currently involved in a legal case against the supplement company so he can’t talk too much about it.
“My manager and I were both very shocked when we found out I had failed a test because we knew that was impossible,” explained Taisumov. “Therefore, it was on us to find out the reason why. We had a number of very stressful weeks and months while spending a lot of money to prove that I was innocent. I felt very thankful that my prayers were finally heard so I want to thank my manager, Sufyan Cultrera, and USADA who believed in and helped me to prove my innocence. I’m definitely more careful than ever now when it comes to using supplements and always check with the USADA database that I’m using clean products.”
Now that nightmare is behind him, Taisumov returns to action on Saturday night at UFC 242 against Brazilian, Diego Ferreira (15-2). Like Taisumov, Ferreira has also had eight fights in the promotion and intends on continuing his own winning streak. With 33 finishes between them, a high-paced battle could ensue with both competitors looking to make a statement at the landmark show in Abu Dhabi.
“I definitely don’t want this fight to go to the judges,” stated Taisumov. “In Ferreira’s last bout, he defeated Rustam Khabilov so I’m more motivated and taking him very seriously. I’ve had one of my toughest training camps so lets wait for Saturday and then see the outcome. The whole fight card is packed with amazing fights and I’m proud to be a part of this historical UFC event in the UAE.”
One of the reasons why the native of the Chechen Republic of Russia is on a six-fight winning streak but hasn’t yet faced an opponent in the top 15 of the division is because he can’t gain access to the United States. Taisumov has attempted to gain a visa so he can perform for the fans stateside but his applications have not yet been granted. He believes this is what has really hindered his progress within the division because the biggest names don’t want to travel outside the US to face him. However, Taisumov really hopes that an end to this long running saga is in sight after his bout this weekend so he can get the match ups against the opponents he believes will put him in the title picture.
“My manager is handling the visa case together with my lawyers,” confirmed Taisumov. “After my fight in Abu Dhabi, we will start a new visa run. I’ve got to win on Saturday so I am still deserving of facing the division’s best. After that, I want to fight in Moscow next and then hopefully I’ll be able to compete in the US shortly after.”