By Caoilte de Barra
History was made on Day 3 of the 2022 World Championships when Armenia’s Spartak Mikayelyan secured the nation’s first-ever spot on the podium at an IMMAF Junior & Senior World Championships.
He followed his upset victory over Gimbat Magomedov with a big win over Artur Abubakarov. Mikayelyan is honoured to achieve this accolade and hopes it can help grow the popularity of the sport in Armenia.
“It means [a lot to secure a medal position] because I want this to be a message for Armenia and make MMA more popular in Armenia because I think we have a lot of talents. I think with good sponsorships, with garment aid, we will be, if not the best, one of the best.I’m sure that we will be the best in amateur MMA, and not only in amateur, but in professional MMA too.”
Mikayelyan is currently studying in the United States and has been training at Elevation Fight Team. The competition is his first taste of tournament style MMA, and he has been loving every minute. His goal is clear, and even though some athletes take things one bout at a time, the junior welterweight entry has gold on his mind at all times.
“It’s amazing. You can see that it’s another level. I think that this is the best world championships that have been for IMMAF.”
“Every time I fight I’m only thinking about gold. So every time, I’m aiming for gold, nothing else.”
“My thoughts are just to enter the cage, do what I know the best, do my best, put on good fights and God’s willing, I hope I will get the gold.”
With MMA on the rise in Armenia, he has high hopes and aspires to have a career similar to an elite level athlete who has inspired him, Gegard Mousasi.
“Mousasi, for me, he’s a legend. He doesn’t have any weak sides. I think he’s the man and I want to be like him in MMA, and even to be better, with all the respect to him.”
Tomorrow, Mikayelyan will face another tough opponent in Bahrain’s Mahmat Hissein. Hussein will be looking to avenge his teammates loss, while Mikayelyan will be looking to make it a double over Bahrain.