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Firas Zahabi Puzzled by Success of Shavkat Acknowledges His Greatness

LockerRoom Team
31 December 2023

Shavkat Rakhmonov's dominant performance in the UFC has not only impressed fans and pundits but has also left Tristar head coach Firas Zahabi bewildered. Renowned for coaching legends like Georges St-Pierre, Zahabi recently shared his thoughts on Rakhmonov's exceptional rise in the UFC welterweight division.

Rakhmonov, boasting an undefeated record of 18-0 in MMA, secured a notable victory earlier this month by submitting former title challenger Stephen Thompson at UFC 296. Notably, Rakhmonov became the first fighter to submit Thompson in his 25-fight career.

While Zahabi is known for recognizing and nurturing talent, Rakhmonov's unique skill set has left him perplexed.

“I was watching Shavkat, and I was trying to understand what makes this guy so great,” Zahabi shared on his YouTube channel. “I still haven’t understood, but he’s great. I just don’t understand how he does it."

Zahabi, having observed numerous fights and trained exceptional fighters, finds Rakhmonov's abilities mysterious. The Kazakh fighter showcased a multifaceted skill set against Thompson, surprising Zahabi with his striking, counter-wrestling, and ultimately securing a submission win in the second round.

Rakhmonov has compiled an impressive record in the UFC, finishing all of his opponents, including six victories in the promotion. Zahabi remains uncertain about Rakhmonov's weaknesses and believes he has the potential to become a UFC champion.

“Shavkat is something I can’t understand,” Zahabi admitted. “I’m intrigued. I can’t wait to watch more of him. I can’t wait to see what weaknesses this man has."

Questioning Rakhmonov's capabilities, Zahabi even contemplated the possibility of him defeating top-ranked contender Leon Edwards.

“Can he beat Leon Edwards? I can’t say no to that. I cannot say no. I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m going to find out like the rest of you guys. To me, it’s insane what he’s done in the octagon. It doesn’t make any sense. None of it makes any sense.”


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