On July 8th, undefeated Guram Gugenishvili will make his United States debut, facing Pat Bennett in the co-main event of M-1 Challenge XXVI: Figueroa vs. Weichel, LIVE on Showtime.
Born in Tbilisi, Georgia, Twenty-four year old Gugenishvili is currently 11-0 in his Mixed Martial Arts career, winning 10 of his fights via brutal submissions. In his last fight, Guram Gugenishvili faced the M-1 Eastern Europe Heavyweight Champion Maxim Grishin, in what was Georgian's toughest test to date. Gugenishvili survived the early onslaught, eventually submitting Grishin via a Rear Naked Choke at 3:03 minutes of Round 1.
Hide your kids, hide your wife and don't forget about yourself, because Guram is coming to Showtime on July 8th. Here's what the 6ft 5, 250-pound bone snapper had to say in an exclusive interview to LowKick.com:
You're fighting Pat Bennett on July 8th. What do you think about him as an opponent and what will be your game plan for this fight?
There is no ‘weak challenger’ for the M-1 belt and all of them want to take it away from me so this fight will be tough. We have one plan only – to keep the belt!
You're currently unbeaten in your MMA career, holding a pro MMA record of 11-0. Is there any pressure in being undefeated?
I want to mention that 11-0 is only my professional M-1 record; I have 2 more wins in fights that I had in Georgia. I don’t feel any additional pressure for being undefeated.
The name Guram Gugenishvili is synonymous with brutal submission victories. Do you work on your striking, and what do you think about finally getting a KO/TKO victory?
We work a lot on my striking technique. My coaches say that I’m improving well. I never plan to win by submission or by a KO; I’m just taking the chances I have and it’s just accidently happening that for now all my wins are submissions. There might be KO or TKO in the future of course.
The fight against Bennett will be your first in the US. Are you excited about the journey to America? What are your expectations from fighting in the US?
Yes, this is my first fight in the US. It’s a big responsibility to fight in another country. Plus in America MMA is far more developed and this is part of the reason why I’m so excited. My only plan is to win and make my fans in Ukraine and Georgia happy.
You're always coming out with both Georgian and Ukranian flags. I know you were born in Tbilisi and currently live in Donetsk, but how it's important for you to also pay tribute to your "Ukrainian side"?
I was born and grew up in Georgia. I am a 100% Georgian and that’s who I will be for all my life. Over the last couple months, my coach and I have been training in Kiev. They have created really good training conditions for me here. People treat me very nice, with respect and love and I feel the same for them because Ukraine deserves it.
What do you think about M-1 Global as an organization, and what does it mean for you as a fighter competing under the M-1 banner?
M-1 is the organization that let me present myself to the world of MMA and I’ve embraced the opportunity. I think that M-1 is the fastest developing and growing organization in the sport.
What do you think about other Heavyweight champions in the world of MMA? Fighters such as Cain Velasquez, Alistair Overeem, Fedor Emelianenko, and others?
Those fighters set the example for the sport around the world. I can only dream to be regarded in the same class as them one day.
Do you have any people you look up to as a fighter? Any idols?
Off topic / comic questions
If you could be a superhero, who would you be? (Batman, Superman, Spiderman)
Ha-ha-ha, I’d be a GugenMan (laughing) (for Gugenishvili is his last name).
M-1 have probably some of the hottest ring girls in the world of MMA. Do you find it sometimes difficult to concentrate during fights?
How can I stay calm watching those hotties? I feel really uncomfortable when I’m on the ring actually - naked except my shorts and fighting gloves surrounded by those girls. When I only see them I lose all my concentration, that’s when the opponent attacks me and I have to fight him back J I’d say, it’s hard to be around those ring girls, but it’s much harder without them.
Do you like sports other than MMA? Like football, for instance? Who do you support?
I love rugby and free style wrestling.
What's your prediction for the fight against Bennett? KO or Submission?
When I become a superhero like GugenMan, my superpower will be predicting the future, that’s when I can answer the question.
Would you like to thank any sponsors/teammates?
I want to thank my coach and manager, Ioseb Koberidze, the president of M-1 Georgia, who is also my dear friend. Also thanks to my friend and fighting partner Gia Makoev. I also want to thank the President of M-1 Ukraine Dmitry Khrustyuk, Aris Sports Club – which is my sponsor. And thanks to Vadim Finkelchtein for creating and developing M-1.