UFC Star Rafael Fiziev Recalls Classmates Beating Him Up in School Paved the Way for MMA Career: “Somebody Beat Me, I Want to Give Him Back”

Published 03/15/2023, 11:00 AM EDT

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Rafael Fiziev has built a great reputation with a 6-fight winning streak and just one loss in Dana White‘s promotion. In the buildup to his fight against Justin Gaethje, UFC posted a video for the countdown to UFC 286, where the 30-year-old revealed how he ended up becoming a UFC fighter.

‘Ataman’ has shown some outstanding performances inside the octagon. He has won the last 4 of six fights via knockouts and the rest via unanimous decisions. Rafel Fiziev has become one of the credible contenders in the lightweight division since his debut in 2019.


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The Azerbaijani fighter signed with the UFC just four years after becoming a professional MMA fighter. He currently holds an MMA record of 12 wins and just 1 loss. In one of UFC’s latest YouTube videos titled UFC 286 Countdown,’ Fiziev recalls his reason to start learning to fight. Let us take a look at what ‘Ataman’ had to say about that.

Rafael Fiziev wanted to give back to back to his bully

‘Ataman’ revealed that he was born in Kazakhstan, where he helped his father as a shepherd. He said, “I’m born in Kazakhstan. I grew up in a village and helped my father shepherd the cows and bulls.” Fiziev later moved to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, for his school education.

This was the time when he got bullied in school. “We move from village to big city, to capital city in Kyrgyzstan,” said Fiziev. He added, “First day when I come into school, some of my classmates they beat me.” 

The beating from his classmates made him realize that he needed to train, and so he did. Fiziev said, “After one week, I started to train Thai boxing. Because somebody beat me, I want to give him back.” He started winning Muay Thai championships within two months of training.

“Just after two months I started training …I take second place, silver medal. 2007 world championship, first place. 2009 world championship, second place. 2011 world championship, first place. And I think like ‘I want to start my professional career,” said Fiziev.


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After deciding to pursue a professional career in MMA, he moved to Thailand and start training at cost-effective gyms. ‘Ataman’ said, “Thailand is very easygoing. Very easy to make visa to Thailand. No need, a lot of money and I know they have good gyms (and) good fighters. It’s perfect.” After competing in Muay Thai fights across Asia and Europe, he finally turned to MMA.

Rafael Fiziev is one of the most explosive fighters currently on the roster. His fight with Justin Gaethje could be one of the most entertaining lightweight bouts of the year, considering the fact that none of these fighters ever have a boring fight. However, Fiziev would look to secure a 7th straight victory and propel himself into title contention.


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Who do you think would come out victorious in the bout between the two? Let us know in the comments below.

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Himanga Mahanta

350 articles

Himanga is a UFC author at EssentiallySports. He interned as a WWE author at Sportsmanor before joining EssentiallySports to pursue his interest as a sports journalist. Himanga is a big fan of UFC's Conor McGregor and considers him the most entertaining combat sports athlete of the 21st century.

Edited By: Vineet Nandwana