Controversial and brash Iranian Amir Aliakbari returns to the ONE Championship Circle on August 26 at ONE on Prime Video 1: Moraes vs. Johnson II in an attempt to get back in the win column and begin his run toward the top of the heavyweight division.
But Aliakbari is also looking beyond ONE on Prime Video 1. He wants to be a part of the growth of mixed martial arts in the Middle East and bring ONE to the region for future events.
ONE Heavyweight Amir Aliakbari Eyes Potential Events in Middle East
The standout heavyweight grappler sees room for growth because of Iran’s deep-rooted history in wrestling.
“I was born in Eastern Azerbaijan Province, but I live today in Tehran. Since my childhood, I’ve practiced sports,” said Aliakbari.
“My older brother was a wrestler when I was ten years old. He encouraged me and introduced me to the world of wrestling, and because I loved this sport, he always used to encourage me to train and to improve my skills.”
“I started practicing wrestling when I was ten years old. Wrestling is one of the most important sports in Iran. After practicing for some time, I felt that I have what it takes to be successful, and therefore I decided to take it seriously.”
Saying he took the sport seriously could be an understatement.
Aliakbari rose to prominence on the international scene and captured the 2010 Greco-Roman FILA World Championship.
Knowing what it took for his own rise in the sports world, Aliakbari sees a bright future for newcomers to ONE as well. Although he often creates headlines with his harsh words for the athletes in his division, Aliakbari truly wants the best for the future generations of the sport. But he too would like to compete on a Middle Eastern event.
“ONE Championship is one of the most deep-rooted MMA organizations, and everyone knows that it includes the best fighters in the world, and I wish to see all new talents reach the highest ranks,” said Aliakbari.
“If ONE organizes an event in the Middle East, I would have no problem fighting anywhere in the region, as we are all from this region, and I hope that ONE organizes an event in the Middle East.”
At the top of his list for future opponents include Kang Ji Won and Anatoly Malykhin, who have defeated him in ONE competition. But in order to lay claim to those rematches, he will first need to get by Mauro Cerilli at ONE on Prime Video 1.
“I think the fight is going to be entertaining. My opponent is a strong fighter, and I will try to give all that I have, and I promise everyone of a fight that is full with enthusiasm,” said Aliakbari.
ONE on Prime Video 1 airs live on Amazon Prime Video at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST on Friday, August 26.