It is sensible to want to deprive
Ultimate Fighting Championship
his chance against former champion Junior dos
. But when you learn about his remarkable story of
recovery, you will agree that nothing is impossible for the former
World Series of Fighting
Going 9-1 after being in a coma is a feat that is nothing short of
amazing. And at UFC Fight Night 133, he will try to extend his
winning streak to six. To date, the only loss of his career was to
No. 3-ranked Alexander
. A win over dos Santos will not only put his name into
the consciousness of UFC fans, but more importantly, it may just
trumpet his entrance among the UFC heavyweight elites. Here are
five more things you might not know about the Bulgarian.
1. He has a win over Fedor
Emelianenko when the latter was in his prime.
The victory came in the semifinals of the 2008 Combat Sambo World
Championships. A decorated Sambo practitioner, Ivanov went on to
win the finals over Janosch
of Germany. He had met “The Last Emperor” at Russia’s
Presidents Cup the previous year, with Emelianenko getting the
better of him. That time, the Russian mixed martial arts great had
taken the 2002, 2005, and 2007 International Sambo Federation World
titles, and was already considered as one of the greatest the sport
has ever seen.
2. He chose mixed martial arts over the Olympics.
Ivanov is a world-class judoka who represented his country in
several international tournaments, including the European
Championships and the 2003 Balkan Junior Championships, where he
placed first. He was good enough to enter the 2012 Summer Olympics,
but chose to focus on his burgeoning MMA career. Back then, he had
an undefeated record of 7-0 (1 NC).
3. He survived a near-fatal bar fight.
On February 2012, a group of eight men attacked Ivanov and his two
friends at a bar in Bulgaria. He was stabbed just below the armpit,
with the blade penetrating his heart and reaching a part of his
lungs. Ivanov spent six hours in the intensive care unit and his
condition only stabilized with help from an artificial respirator.
After a week, he was switched to a milder treatment regimen.
However, another week passed and his condition deteriorated. He was
placed in a medically induced coma for approximately 10 weeks. Ten
days after waking, he was discharged from the hospital.
4. He gave a press conference inside the hospital.
Eager for an MMA return, Ivanov conducted a press conference inside
the hospital to declare his intentions. Doctors confirmed that he
would be able to compete after six months to one year of
5. He went 4-0 after being placed in a coma.
On September 2013 at Bellator 99, he made a successful return with
a submission victory over Manny Lara
This was followed by three more triumphs at the expense of Keith Bell