Elite wrestlers occasionally earn a bad reputation in Mixed Martial Arts based on their inherent ability to put an opponent on his backside, blanketing him for the bulk of the bout to earn a decision win. In that regard UFC lightweight Kamal Shalorus has set himself apart throughout his career, opting to only use his Olympic caliber grappling skills when necessary while preferring to stand and strike. His all-out style earned him a reputation in WEC as one of the organization’s most entertaining competitors where he went 3-0-1 including a draw against Jamie Varner and win over Bart Palaszewski.
Shalorus will look to continue that trend when he faces unbeaten Russian Habib Nurmagomedov at UFC on FX: Guillard vs. Miller. While his UFC career didn’t start out as he hoped, falling to Jim Miller this past March, the “Prince of Persia” has used his time wisely and expects to unveil an evolved version of the fighter fans remember when the cage door closes on Friday night.
“I am developing everyday as an athlete and fighter,” explained the 7-1-2 Shalorus in an exclusive interview with Fighters.com. “I am in a moment in my career where I plan on going back to my fundamentals. You will see a new and improved Kamal Shalorus. One that will continue to like to bang on his feet, but you will also see a lot higher caliber wrestling as well.”
In terms of the growth he’s referring to, Shalorus has since packed up camp from his former home-base in Austin, Texas and headed out West to refine his stand-up and put a whetstone to his already razor-sharp wrestling abilities.
“I relocated to Los Angeles and am now training at Dynamix MMA as well as Golden Boys Wrestling Club. I am working with Antoni Hardonk on my striking and bringing back my wrestling to my MMA game. His striking system compliments wrestling very well because of his transitions. Vladimir Matyushenko has improved a lot in his striking and it has mostly to do with the work he has done with Antoni.”
“I have a great strength & conditioning coach who has helped me with my nutrition, speed, and agility,” he continued. “Wrestling at Golden Boys is a blessing because there are so many internationally decorated wrestlers in my weight category to go with. I am in a moment where I feel like a very sharp knife ready to slice through hot butter.
While Shalorus stopped short of making any predictions on the outcome of his bout with Nurmagomedov, he certainly isn’t overlooking the 23-year old newcomer based on it being his UFC debut.
“Let’s see what will happen,” Shalorus began on the subject of their scrap. “I know he is a worthy opponent. You can not be in the UFC if you did not earn it. He has a great record. There is so much film on him that it has been easy for my coaches and me to study his patterns. The game plan will be shown on fight night. I can guarantee that the fans will be entertained our fight.”
“I am always motivated to fight anyone the UFC puts in front of me,” he concluded on Nurmagomedov, showing that the prospect of delivering the 16-0 prospect’s first career loss was not necessarily as big a factor as some may think.
However, one thing that will be on Shalorus’ mind tomorrow is the notion of being part of the UFC’s first live show on FX. While his bout is set to be broadcast as part of the preliminary portion of the event on Fuel TV, the show as a whole is still one with significance given the future relationship between the UFC/FOX and something he sees as a crown jewel in his career.
“It is very meaningful to be on the 1st FX show, most definitely,” said Shalorus. “It feels like we are apart of history. That goes without question. These are the kind of milestones that are memorable for me always.”
In closing, Shalorus assured fans of two things – his fight will be fun to watch and they shouldn’t expect to see him follow the lead of any lightweights who’ve decided to dip down a division.
“No, I am a big 155 pounder as it is,” Shalorus replied with a laugh. “We would need to cut my leg off for that.”
Catch Shalorus-Nurmagomedov during the Fuel TV festivities with the broadcast beginning at 6:00 PM EST. Things will then head over to FX at 9:00 PM EST with a card featuring Josh Neer vs. Duane Ludwig, Pat Barry vs. Christian Morecraft, and headlining lightweights Melvin Guillard vs. the aforementioned Miller.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC