‘Prince of Persia’ meets Nurmagomedov in Nashville
In mixed martial arts, losses are an accepted aspect of the sport. In many cases those setbacks are not only motivational, but can be the driving force behind a fighter taking a fresh look at the bigger picture.
Kamal Shalorus believes the answer has been there the entire time – he simply needed to get back to his roots.
“The Prince of Persia” faces Habib Nurmagomedov on Friday in Nashville at UFC on FX: Guillard vs. Miller and credits changing gyms and a recommitment to his foundation for getting him ready.
“My training has been absolutely great,” Shalorus told HeavyMMA. “I moved to Dynamix MMA with Antoni Hardonk. I changed up my wrestling coaches and I’m training with Golden Boys Wrestling now. I’ve also changed up my strength and conditioning and I’m working with Chad Waterbury. It has been perfect.
“I took a lot away from my fight with Jim Miller. He was the first southpaw I had ever fought, and that presented difficulties. The biggest thing I learned was that I needed to use my wrestling to my advantage. Jim is a good fighter and the loss was a wake-up call for me.”
Shalorus came into mixed martial arts with an established foundation in wrestling. Despite his background, Shalorus was quick to shelf one of his biggest strengths as he jumped excitedly into wild exchanges. With his game taking a new shape, Shalorus’ focus is locked on what it will take to win – and plans on rudely welcoming Nurmagomedov to the UFC.
“I used to go into fights to strike because everybody liked the striking I was displaying,” Shalorus said. “Now, I realize I have to get back to my strength, and that is wrestling. I’m learning how to use both skills together and I’m mixing things up very well. I have a much different game plan for this fight and it will absolutely be better than my last. I’m so ready for this fight.
“This is going to be a tricky fight because Habib likes to use wrestling to take his opponents down and submit them. His top game is very good, but I’m going to be the one taking him down. I’m going to land strikes, and to be honest I’m going to kick his ass everywhere the fight goes. I’m coming after this guy. I’m going to bring a very exciting fight. I’m going to submit him or knock him out.
“I’m ready to prove to the UFC I’m ready to go all the way to the top. The UFC is a great opportunity for me. I’m thankful for them allowing me to show my skills. I’m grateful and excited to be in the show.”
Refocused and ready, Shalorus is aiming at the top of the lightweight division. He has respect for the fighters who dwell in the upper tier and is prepared to do the work in order to add his name to the list.
“MMA is so competitive right now,” Shalorus said. “Every fighter is training hard to become the best they can be. There are so many good coaches, great camps and everyone is training smarter. The lightweight division is great right now. I respect guys like Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard and Ben Henderson. They are at the top of the division – and that’s where I want to be.”