Nandor Gulemino: FFC 16 will be a fighting show Austria has never seen before!
The FFC is about to hold its first major event in the Austrian capital of Vienna December 6. The main part of the event will be headlined by the biggest Austrian MMA star and former UFC fighter Nandor Guelmino who is to test his skills against Croatia's best heavyweight Maro Perak. After a successful career in various European organizations, Guelmino got a shot in Strikeforce and later in the UFC. However, after two losses against Barnett and Omielanczuk he lost the contract. The match against Perak will be his first fight since 2013.
How are your preparations going for FFC 16 in Vienna and your fight with Maro Perak?
The preparations are going well and I do strength and condition trainings since July. I did a lot of basic running, hill running, run interval training, bag interval training, crossfit and sparring…. I have three weeks left before my fight and I feel better than ever!
You had some problems with some injury as we heard, but your knee is fine now, isn't it?
Yes, I sustained that injury while grappling. I could not walk properly for a few days but now I feel OK. Every fighter gets injured a little here and then before the fight, that's normal.
How much do you know about Maro Perak? He is one of the best European HW with a very good score.
Maro is a good fighter with a good score and good training partners. He is in a good shape generally in every match. In his last fight he exploded in the beginning of the 3rd round! He lost but I must give my respect to him because his opponent was M1 champion who defeated Denis Komki, Konstantin Gluhov and Damian Gabrowski in the first round and that fighters are some big names! And when you win a fight against such guy like Maro, you have to be proud.
A few years ago you defeated his fellow colleague from Dubrovnik, Ajlin Ahmić. What are your recollections when it comes to that match?
I remember that match very well! Ajlin was physically the strongest opponent I ever had. I'm strong too but in that fight i felt weak like little child. His judo was excellent! The only thing that gave me strength to win was something he told me before the match. He told me before the fight that he would destroy me in one minute. That was the only thing on my mind during the fight and it helped me to stay strong and to win. But it was not easy! However, since then we are friends on Facebook and he is a nice guy in general.
You have experience in Strikeforce and in the UFC. What was it like to fight in the world's best MMA organizations?
It was a nice experience and a dream come true. It was also a big pleasure to meet Dana White and to see how Strikeforce and UFC work behind the scenes. The USA is a completely different universe. Everybody knows UFC and Strikeforce and you feel there like a national hero. The fans are crazy! It was definitely a nice experience. The hotel lobby was full of fans every day and even after the fight night too.
There you fought one of the best guys in the business – Josh Barnett. What are your impressions of this fight?
When I fought against him, he was number six in the world. I didn't feel nervous at all, I felt as if I was in a PlayStation game. It was all a little bit unreal to me. I would show more in stand up but he was searching the ground game where he won.
Are you sorry you haven't continued your career in the UFC?
I would be sorry if I was ten years younger. But now I know I will never become a UFC champion because of my age. So it does not matter to me if I fought there once or maybe ten times. I can only thank God and my manager that I had a chance to visit the USA and see what it's like behind the scenes. And now I know what it feels like to be a UFC fighter!
FFC is one of the leading European promotions and this will be your debut match under their banner. What do you expect from the Vienna spectacle?
I expect a big, professional show. Something Austria has never seen before! And a lot of spectators, of course. After the UFC, it will be very nice to fight in Vienna again.
The whole fight card is full of great fights and great fighters – former UFC fighter Alessio Sakara, biggest Austrian KB star, Fadi Merza… Can you give as a short comment on the whole event?
What I believe is… When you want to see the UFC level you must see Alessio Sakara fight. Then you will see what a high class professional fighter's match looks like! Usually, if you want to see something like that, you have to go to the USA but now FFC will make it happen here! Moreover, Fadi Merza is a legend in Austria and he fought against a lot of international high level fighters. This will be his farewell fight and this will be the last chance to see the Austrian legend with 20 years of experience in the ring! My teammate Grigor Aschugbabjan and Alexander Rakic will fight too! They are always well prepared and I can't wait for that fight! Grigor is a very hard puncher and Alexander is the best newcomer that I've seen here in Austria. He loves this sport and he grows very fast. I think he is a great talent and I'm sure he will be hearing a lot about him in the future.
Nandor vs. Maro – December 6. Who wins and how?
l fight with all my heart to stay there and leave the ring as the winner. How I win doesn't matter! I feel good both in stand up and on the ground!