REPORT | Olympic Gold Medalist Zaurbek Sidakov considering move to MMA

By Curtis Calhoun - June 19, 2024

Freestyle wrestling Olympic gold medalist Zaurbek Sidakov could be on the way to making his MMA debut.

Zaurbek Sidakov

Sidakov won an Olympic gold medal in freestyle wrestling during the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. He’s also won three gold medals at the freestyle wrestling world championships and is one of Russia’s most accomplished athletes.

Sidakov won’t compete at the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, and will reportedly turn his attention to learning the ins and outs of MMA.

Zaurbek Sidakov is the next Olympian to transition to MMA

In a recent interview with Ushatayka, UFC featherweight Muhammad Naimov revealed Sidakov’s interest in transitioning to MMA.

“He just said that he won’t compete (at the Olympics),” Naimov said of Sidakov. “He told me that definitely after the Olympics he will transfer to MMA. I think he will come.”

Naimov explained that he reached out to manager Ali Abdelaziz to get Sidakov on the UFC’s radar for a future contract. As of this writing, nothing has been formally booked for Sidakov in terms of a professional or amateur fight.

Sidakov’s MMA interest has intrigued the likes of Henry Cejudo, a former two-division UFC champion and Olympic gold medalist in his own right. Cejudo has allegedly offered to help Sidakov make the transition to MMA.

If Sidakov is serious about a move to the cage, he’ll become the latest Russian wrestling standout to attempt to dominate the sport. Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov are two UFC legends with elite wrestling bases.

Sidakov has competed at 74KG for the majority of his wrestling career, making an MMA career at welterweight (170lbs) highly likely.  It’s uncertain what weight Sidakov intends to fight at if he transitions to MMA.

Sidakov is a big name to watch over the next year, and the wrestling star could be on the UFC’s radar sooner rather than later.

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM