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Mairbek Taisumov believes visa process has been ‘holding my career back’

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Taisumov vs Hadzovic Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Mairbek Taisumov’s UFC performances have been restricted to Europe since his debut in 2014, but the Russian thinks the end of his US visa saga is in sight.

After five straight knockouts and three consecutive ‘Performance of the Night’ bonuses in the lightweight division, “Beckan” has become undeniable. Following his emphatic first round disposal of Felipe Silva at UFC Fight Night 115, he told the media in Rotterdam that he would never be able to compete in the U.S. However, his UFC 223 booking against promotional stalwart Evan Dunham suggests the contrary.

“Right now, the UFC lawyers are working on it,” Taisumov told MMA Fighting.

“I feel it will all be done very soon. All I can do is wait. It’s probably going to be a few more weeks, but from what I’ve heard I will finally get my visa. The process is ongoing, like I said the UFC lawyers are working on it, but they are very confident that everything will be okay.”

Taisumov watched on as fellow European Emil Meek was forced to postpone his fight with Kamaru Usman, which was initially scheduled for UFC 218. The Russian has previously missed out on UFC fights due to visa issues, and is adamant that his situation is affecting his career.

“I really hope that it doesn’t happen to me,” he said in relation to the postponement of Usman versus Meek.

“It happened to me already, so I just hope this time that I can get my visa and everything will be okay. I really need it now. This whole visa process has been holding my career back.”

The fact that Taisumov has already held a U.S. working visa and competed in the country makes the ordeal even harder to wrap your head around. “Beckan” blames politics for the delay.

“I really don’t know why it’s been such a problem. There is a lot of politics involved and I think that’s the big problem,” he explained.

“I’m not the problem. I’m just a sportsman; I’ve never done any kind of crime in my life. I’ve never done any bad things to people. I’m a good person and there’s nothing I have done in my life that would stop me from getting a visa, but I’ve still had trouble getting it.

“The strange thing is, I’ve been in America before; I had a two-year working visa. I’ve fought in America and everything was okay. I just came back after my fight and everything was fine.

“Now, it seems I can’t get my visa, and I don’t know why. It’s just politics, but it has a big effect on normal people like me. I really feel like it’s holding my career back.”

Taisumov believes that being forced to wait for European events to compete has also hindered his momentum with the UFC.

“Without a visa, I was forced to wait for European shows to come around. If I had a visa, I would fight every Saturday in America because they have many shows in America. It’s hard to build up momentum when you have to wait for the European cards that only come along every few months. It really has held my career back, and I’m really sad about that. It would mean a lot to clear the problem, and I’m hopeful that I will.”

Some might consider Dunham — the first ranked UFC fighter Taisumov has faced — to be the toughest test of his career. Yet, all that’s on his mind his is securing his visa.

“I’m just thinking about the visa. To be honest, I’ve just completely switched off everything else. If I can get the visa, I know I can beat any of the top 10 guys in the world. The visa is all I need and I will be very happy,” he said.

“I’m not trying to disrespect Evan Dunham. He’s a proven veteran and he deserves respect. I swear to you, I don’t watch what he has done before, who he has beaten or who he has fought.

“All I want is to be able to do my work. Evan Dunham or the world champion could come at me, and I’m still just going to play my game.”

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