By Caoilte de Barra
Ayan Tursyn is the latest standout to call time on her amateur career to make a run at the pro ranks. She has signed to compete under the Octagon banner for her debut, which will take place on June 10 against Gulistan Turan.
Tursyn enjoyed a successful amateur career spanning across five years. She became a stalwart on the Kazakhstan team, representing her nation at five separate IMMAF tournaments and the MMA SuperCup. Her maiden IMMAF appearance came at the 2017 Asian Open Championships. She made an instant impression by finishing Amirah Makhtar in the third round and then went on to take a silver medal in the tournament. That silver medal was only the beginning of what became a haul of medals across multiple divisions over the years.
Ahead of her fight at Octagon 31, Tursyn explained why she decided to go pro and how she aspires to make it to the UFC.
“I turned pro for the reason that is my future career. My dream is to be in the UFC.
“The goal in Olympic sports is the Olympic games, [in MMA] we have the UFC. Like all fighters, I have a goal to be a UFC fighter. I want to become the holder of the UFC belt and bring this belt to my country. For the whole world, I want to show them how well Kazakh girls can fight.”
When competing at amateur, Tursyn was preparing for three-minute rounds, but outside of the adjustment to five minutes, preparation has not changed very much.
“There is no special change [in preparations]. We are tuning up and preparing hard. There are some differences, so we know the opponent earlier and can learn her weaknesses. Also, the length of the round, we fought for three minutes as amateurs. Here it is five minutes and elbows, so we must work on this. But in general, there are no major changes.”
Tursyn had multiple standout moments in IMMAF. Her spinning back fist KO victory at the 2021 European Championships is one of the most recent. However, when reflecting on her time competing, she highlighted her Gold Medal winning run at the Asian Championships as the standout.
“Honestly, in my amateur career, every moment, every competition was the best for me. Every competition was like a holiday. But the most unforgettable was 2019 in Thailand when I became the Asian champion. When I was on a pedestal with pride and tears in my eyes, singing the anthem of my country. I was waiting for that moment for a very long time.”
She went on to add the importance of an amateur career for an athlete that plans to go pro.
“An amateur career is like a foundation for a fighter. It’s a good experience before a professional career. Show me a fighter who fights badly, who had an amateur career? All of them are now fighting in the best leagues in the world.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the IMMAF Organization for the opportunity to grow as a fighter, President Kerrith Brown, and everyone who was involved. I want to thank the MMA Federation of Kazakhstan for their faith, motivation, and for their contribution to me all these years. I will miss you all very much.”
Now that the curtain is closed on her amateur career, Tursyn is not giving much away in regards to a prediction but promises a good bout.
“I can’t say anything right now. I will show everything in the Octagon. I know one thing – that I am ready to do my best for the victory. I will try to show a good fight.”