I had the pleasure of speaking with the man who opens up the UFC’s first card of the year, Welterweight David Zawada.
Dana White and his team at the UFC don’t have any intention of slowing down as we start 2021 with another electric card. Start as you mean to go on, right? The first event marked on the boss’s calendar of the year on January 16th is headlined by former Featherweight Champion Max Holloway and no #5 ranked Calvin Kattar.
The 14-bout fight card takes place in Abu Dhabi, which Dana White has relied on during the pandemic massively. UFC 242, Nurmagomedov vs. Poirier, was a success. We could be seeing a new hotspot for martial arts in the UAE.
David “Sagat” Zawada
David Zawada (17-5) makes his fourth walk to the UFC octagon on Jan 16th going (1-2). The German international made his debut back in 2018, suffering a tough split decision loss at the hands of Danny Roberts. Just four months later, Zawada returned to the action taking a second loss to Jingliang Li.
Following two defeats and an unfortunate start with the promotion, Zawada proceeded to take a year out and it seemed to be beneficial. He returned with a R1 triangle choke victory over Abubakar Nurmagomedov late in 2019.
Zawada didn’t get much of a chance to build some momentum in 2020 with two of his scheduled bouts being canceled with Anthony Rocco Martin and Mounir Lazzez. A frustrating year out of competition has only made the 30-year old more hungry.
Ramazan “Gorets” Emeev
Ramazan Emeev (19-4) is the man standing across the cage from Zawada in January. Emeev also had a frustrating 2020, with two scheduled bouts being scrapped, but the Russian native managed to get one fight in and bounce back from his first UFC loss, securing a unanimous decision over Niklas Stolze at UFC Fight Night.
Emeev has proven to be a tough task inside the cage, collecting 9 decision victories, 7 submissions, and 3 KO/TKO on his record. A well-rounded skill-set he brings to the table.
Interview with David Zawada
Firstly, how has life been like for you amongst the madness of the pandemic, you’ve faced many challenges physically and mentally I can imagine?
David Zawada – “Hey there, yes I think it is hard for everyone. Two fights for me have been canceled because of the pandemic and the gyms are closed, so no training. I do try to keep my mind positive and looking for a solution. I am staying in shape and only waited for the call.”
You must be very frustrated and excited to get to work in January, we’ve not seen you compete in 2020, with two of your bouts being cancelled, has the year out of competition allowed you to develop and work on your skill-set. Can we expect to see anything new added to your arsenal come fight night?
David Zawada – “Yes it has, not having a fight doesn’t mean no training, my teammates have had upcoming fights so I am still in training and constantly grinding on my skills as well. Yes, for sure you can expect to see new tools in my arsenal.”
You had a pretty difficult start to your career inside the UFC but in your last outing, you showed what your capable off with a R1 win over Nurmagomedov. How much of a relief was that to get that first win inside the promotion under your belt?
David Zawada – “Yes it means a lot, also to stay in the UFC, it would be sad to leave without showing my best, but I now think I am in and well prepared to show you more of my skills.”
With two matchups being cancelled this year for you, are you looking to have an active 2021 and pick up some real momentum in the division?
David Zawada – “So if the start of the year is good for me, I hope to fight at least three or four times in 2021, if the body will do it too of course. I hope to climb close to the top of the division before ending the year 2021.”
Ramazan Emeev is a tough opponent who also comes of a victory, where do you feel his strengths and weaknesses lie, is there anything there you feel you can take advantage of when the cage door closes?
David Zawada – “Yes he is very tough and has a lot of experience, and yes anybody is beatable. It’s only the fight day that’s important. I just focus on myself and will do the best I can to get a win.”
We are starting to see a lot of German talent starting to push through to the bigger organisations, how do you feel the development of martial arts is doing in Germany and how long until we see many Germany fighters on the highest stage in your opinion?
David Zawada – “Germany has many good fighters and also the youth are really good. It’s just the time. If it’s the time for these guys they must be ready and always in training and win the important fights. The hardest work is to have the patience for it.”
Have you visualized the fight with Emeev in your head? How do you see the fighting playing out?
David Zawada – “I see a really tough fight with good action on both sides. I have nothing but respect for Emeev, but at the end of the day, I will get the win. That is what I want and will work for.”
Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images
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