Czech Republic’s David Kozma will soon be competing at OKTAGON 40 against the dangerous Łukasz Siwiec in the opening round of the Tipsport Gamechanger tournament.
16 fighters will be competing in the prestigious €1 million Tipsport Gamechanger tournament. This is the largest cash prize of any European MMA organization in history. “Pink Panther” Kozma will look to leave his mark and take a step further in this grand prix.
Ahead of his March 4 tournament showdown, David Kozma sat down with Tim Wheaton of MMA Sucka for an exclusive interview:
David Kozma Exclusive Interview
Thanks for your time today David Kozma! How’s training coming along for the upcoming match?
Thank you! The training is good. I just came back from camp from Poland. In the beginning of the training had some little troubles with health, but it got healed fast so I am ready for the match.
Tell us more about the €1 million Tipsport Gamechanger welterweight tournament!
I am very excited to be a part of it, not only because of the great prize but also the whole concept is something new. So we will see how it goes.
What’s the gameplan against Łukasz Siwiec at OKTAGON 40?
You know I can’t tell you the whole gameplan before the fight. You will see for yourself on 4th March.
Any beef with this opponent or is it all business?
I am not into the whole trash talk idea, so I actually don’t have any beef with my opponents. It is always only sport for me.
You’re on the comeback trail to the title, what does the world title represent to you?
I held the title for more than 1000 days so for me it became a part of my life being a champion and I will do what I need to to get it back.
Where does the nickname ‘Pink Panther’ mean? Where does it come from?
During puberty you know there’ve been groups who were into hip hop, emo etc. I was the metrosexual one, so I was wearing pink a lot. When I started with MMA I had some pink things for training and brought it into the fights as well. So pink became part of my branding basically. Once Czech media called me Pink Panther, I liked it and started using it since then.
How is the growth of MMA been in Czech Republic? It seems like OCTAKON has been a huge piece of the sport in the nation.
In the last years the growth and the popularity among fans is really growing. When I started I was competing it the arenas with dozens of people who were basically family and friends of the fighters. Now Oktagon is selling out the main arenas in Czech Republic in days. The fighters get a lot of visibility, so the sport is really growing now and hopefully it will stay the same.
Tell us about your origin in MMA, how did you start in the sport?
I was into judo when I was a kid, started competing. But judo had many rules and I was starting to feel those limitations. Once my classmate brought me to this MMA class, I really liked it and stayed in this sport since then.
Were there any fighters you looked up who inspired you in MMA?
Not really. Of course I am watching the biggest names in the MMA but I don’t really have any icons.
Where YOU, the MMA fighter, going to be in five and ten years from now?
I don’t really like to look that much ahead. Always focusing on the fight that is next and then going from there. But for sure I’d like to take the championship back as soon as possible and then go from there either in Oktagon or in some foreign organisation.
Do you have any advice for others entering this sport?
Get ready for hard work and do not give up. This sport takes a lot of time and if you wanna do it on competitors level you will need to be ready to focus only on the sport and nothing else.
€1 million Tipsport Gamechanger welterweight tournament at OKTAGON 40
In a press release, OKTAGON offered more details on the €1 million Tipsport Gamechanger welterweight tournament which begins at OKTAGON 40.
“The biggest tournament in the history of European MMA is about to kick off!
Sixteen fighters representing fifteen different countries will battle it out for their share of €1 million in the Tipsport Gamechanger – the most prize money ever awarded in a European MMA tournament. OKTAGON MMA stars will compete alongside UFC, Bellator and PFL veterans in the Champions League of MMA at OKTAGON 40 on Saturday, March 4. Ostravar Arena in Ostrava, Czech Republic will play host to the entire eight-fight opening round of the welterweight bracket as well as two reserve bouts on a truly landmark card in the history of the top European promotion.
In the main event, David Kozma (30-12) looks towards a new challenge after losing his OKTAGON MMA title in December when he faces Babilon MMA welterweight champion, Łukasz Siwiec (8-1), in the Tipsport Gamechanger. ‘Pink Panther’ was the longest reigning belt holder in the promotion and defended his crown five times, fending off all challenges until he ran into Kaik Brito at OKTAGON 37. Kozma remains one of the biggest stars in the organisation but Polish finisher, Siwiec, wants to prove he can make the step up to the summit of the European food chain and silence his opponent’s adoring crowd. Will Kozma begin his path back towards the top while flying the flag for the Czech Republic or can Siwiec cause a huge upset?Former interim OKTAGON MMA middleweight champion, Samuel Krištofič (16-4), was enjoying his run at 185lbs but the draw of the life-changing cash prize in the Tipsport Gamechanger has made him drop back down to the welterweight division. At OKTAGON 40, ‘Pirát’ will represent Slovakia in the co-main event opposite Bellator veteran, Alex Lohoré (22-8), who was born in France but raised in the UK. ‘Da Killa King’ cemented his place in the bracket after a vicious knockout of Matúš Juráček in his last outing and after joining Great Britain Top Team, he feels that now is the time to achieve his sporting potential. Can Lohoré become the first man to finish Krištofič or will ‘Pirát’ sail through to the quarter finals?
Also on the main card, German warrior, Christian Jungwirth (13-6), enters the tournament after picking up a victory over Denilson Neves de Oliveira in Munich three weeks ago. He will square off with Tato Primera (18-12) who was awarded a place in the bracket after winning the final participant fan vote with big support from his home country of Spain.
In arguably the best matched contest of the opening round, lethal submission artist, Louis Glismann (9-2), travels to Ostrava from Denmark to try and progress in the project over Georgian prospect, Amiran Gogoladze (14-3). Furthermore, Leandro ‘Apollo’ Silva (26-10-1, 1NC), is the only non-European in the Tipsport Gamechanger and will proudly fight for Brazil against Greek athlete, Andreas Michailidis (13-6).
Elsewhere in the field, the best Hungarian welterweight, Máté Kertész (13-5, 1NC), clashes with Germany’s Marcel Grabinski (22-7) and UFC veteran, Bojan Veličković (21-12-2), will represent Serbia when he takes on the man known as ‘Dracula’, Ion Surdu (12-4), from Moldova. Slovakian knockout machine, Radovan Úškrt (7-3), won the fan vote to replace the injured Christian Eckerlin in the bracket and looks to continue his 100% first round finishing streak when he faces LFL welterweight champion and top Dutch fighter, Melvin van Suijdam (13-5). John Hathaway has had to withdraw from the opening round due to an injury he has suffered.
No matches in the €1 million Tipsport Gamechanger tournament can end in a draw so if the points are even after three rounds, the judges must decide who the overall winner of the bout is. Once the opening round has been concluded in Ostrava, the eight fighters who progress to the quarter finals will randomly draw numbers from 1-8 and place themselves in the next round of the bracket. Therefore, some competitors will decide who they face in the quarter finals.”