If it looks like Rafael Fiziev is having too much fun with his post-fight callouts, don’t worry — the lightweight contender insists they’re all part of the plan.
Fiziev defeated former training partner Brad Riddell with a spectacular spinning wheel kick knockout at UFC Vegas 44 and afterward challenged actor Vince Vaughn, who was cageside at the UFC APEX. As Fiziev tells it, the idea came from his manager Sayat Abdrakhmanov.
“Of course I know who [Vaughn] is, I like his movies,” Fiziev said on The MMA Hour. “Sayat, he said, ‘This is a good idea if you invite him to the fight after.’ But bro, I need a win first and after I need to invite someone. He said to me before the fight, ‘When you win, do this.’ This is a good idea, I say this is a nice idea, of course, now I need to win.
“After the win, in my head, I have mixed vegetables and everything and I forget about everything and that’s why I said, ‘What’s his name?’”
Though there wasn’t any follow-up with Vaughn after, Fiziev continues to establish himself as not only one of the fastest-rising fighters at 155 pounds, but also one of the division’s more creative minds. Following his win over Bobby Green at UFC 265 this past August, Fiziev challenged popular MMA personality Hasbulla to a fight.
Fiziev appears to be enjoying the buzz his callouts create and insists that it’s all part of a greater plan.
“I have a good plan, and when this plan comes to finish, everyone shook,” Fiziev said. “Everyone shook. I have a good plan in my future about call someone, about everything and this stuff, it’s a nice plan. When this plan finished, everyone say, ‘Wow.’”
Fiziev wouldn’t elaborate on his supposed endgame, but what’s in front of him is arguably more compelling. “Ataman” has now won five straight fights and knockouts of Riddell and Renato Moicano have made him one to watch in the lightweight division.
He believes he’s poised for a higher-ranked opponent and is currently eyeing Gregor Gillespie, or former UFC champions Rafael dos Anjos and Tony Ferguson.
"[Gregor] Gillespie, Rafael dos Anjos... and also Tony Ferguson, he doesn't have a fight now."@RafaelFiziev gives @arielhelwani a list of names for his potential next opponent #TheMMAHour— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) December 8, 2021
▶️ https://t.co/vsygKwEp3P pic.twitter.com/bhDcic0VoG
“Gillespie,” Fiziev said. “Rafa dos Anjos, who is the best Rafa in the UFC? Who is the best fisherman in the UFC [with Gillespie]? Also Tony Ferguson, he no have fight now, who has the best elbows in the UFC, Tony or me? Who is the best Rafa, who is the best fisherman? All this is good.”
Fiziev hopes to return around April or May. According to the list of official medical suspensions from UFC Vegas 44, Fiziev suffered minimal injury in his fight with Riddell and is only suspended until the first week of January.
He hesitated to offer a timeline for when he might compete for a UFC title, only agreeing that if he continues on his current run of standout performances, it won’t be long.
“I don’t know, I can’t say,” Fiziev said. “If I finish everyone like I finished [Riddell], why not?”