Mateusz Gamrot knew after his latest win that free agency was looming and it was time to conquer bigger challenges.
The 17-0, two-division KSW champion has been a mainstay of the Polish promotion for several years while building a reputation as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in all of Europe. At 29, Gamrot appears to be entering the prime of his career and he knows it’s now-or-never if he wants to attain his long term goals in the sport.
“KSW was amazing for me,” Gamrot told MMA Fighting. “I had beautiful moments. I was proud to represent KSW and my country to the world. I am very thankful for this organization because now I am a free agent.
“I stayed in KSW for seven years. I need more. I need challenges. I need bigger challengers than the guys in KSW.”
Gamrot built an impressive resume while fighting in KSW, but a pair of wins over former UFC fighter Norman Parke probably sit at the top of his record. In July, he became the first person to stop Parke during his career as he defended his KSW lightweight title prior to his final fight with the promotion in August.
While he will always praise the time he spent in KSW, Gamrot feels like he’s ready to prove he’s the best lightweight fighter in the world and that’s going to require him to target opponents in promotions like the UFC.
“I feel very hungry for the future. I feel ready for the top-15 in the UFC,” Gamrot said.
“I want to be remembered in the U.S. I want to be proud to represent my country but I feel I am one of the best guys in the world in lightweight. I feel I am ready for everybody. Let’s go.”
The Polish lightweight has already traveled to the U.S. on several occasions to train under the coaches at American Top Team in Florida. There he works alongside an elite group of teammates including a number of top ranked UFC and Bellator fighters, which helped him gauge his own readiness for the move to a bigger promotion.
Gamrot now feels truly prepared for whatever gets thrown at him but he’s more than willing to work his way up the ranks to prove himself just like he’s done in the past.
“My dream is No. 1 the world championship,” Gamrot stated. “This is my goal. Of course, money is very important but for me, I need to become champion.”
Despite competing in two different weight classes in KSW, Gamrot says his future will likely remain at 155 pounds, although if the money is right, he’s not opposed to making a difficult cut back down to featherweight.
“I think lightweight category is better for me,” Gamrot explained. “Because I can’t cut too much weight but if I have big offers for featherweight, I will be ready.”
There are potential challenges in numerous organizations across the globe but Gamrot knows if he wants to be considered the best lightweight in the world, all roads eventually lead to the UFC.
With an undefeated wrecking ball like Khabib Nurmagomedov sitting as champion, Justin Gaethje holding onto an interim title, and a list of contenders with names such as Tony Ferguson, Dustin Poirier and potentially Conor McGregor in the future, Gamrot sees that as the gold standard of competition in his division.
And he can’t wait to face all of them.
“The lightweight division in the UFC is the most dangerous,” Gamrot said. “A lot of dangerous guys. Two times more than other categories but I am ready.”