Even at 40, Well-Traveled Salaverry Desires Fights Abroad

By Joe Myers Sep 4, 2011
Ivan Salaverry, 40, still has the desire to compete. | Photo: David Lethaby

During his 12-year professional mixed martial arts career, Ivan Salaverry has fought all over the world in organizations ranging from Shooto in Japan and the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts in the United Kingdom to the Ultimate Fighting Championship in the United States. If the 40-year-old has his way, his passport will get a few more stamps before he hangs up his gloves for good.

“I am looking for more fights,” Salaverry told Sherdog.com. “It’s hard since there’s not a lot of big promotions in the U.S., but I’ve seen some of the bigger promotions overseas in Poland [with KSW], Singapore [with One Fighting Championship] and places like that and that’s definitely something I can see myself doing. I’m just putting it out there for people.”

Salaverry (13-8) last appeared at BAMMA 6 in May, as he lost a unanimous decision to Matt Ewin. The fight was his first since May 2008, when he submitted to a Rousimar Palhares armbar in the first round of their matchup at UFC 84. Salaverry has lost three straight and four of his last five fights reaching back to August 2005, but those losses have come to Ewin, Palhares, Terry Martin and Nate Marquardt, men with their own MMA merits. Salaverry claims the three-year gap between the losses to Palhares and Ewin -- which included surgery and commitments to his gym, Ivan Salaverry MMA, in Seattle -- was a busy time, but he never lost his desire to fight.

“I had hip and shoulder surgery and those take a while to recover from, and you never come out of them completely normal,” said Salaverry. “Plus, I was running my gym [which opened in October 2005] and had two young children, both of which needed a lot of attention. Life happened to me, but it’s hard to take it out of your system. When you’re there and see your guys fighting, you want that, too.”

The entire fight experience, from the preparation to the matchup itself keeps the fire to compete stoked within Salaverry.

“It’s so hard to relate to people why a 40-year-old man wants to get in a cage and throw down,” he said with a laugh. “The excitement, brutality and beauty of it all appeal to me. I enjoy it. The pre-fight camp, the nerves and putting your whole self into something is what I love. Plus, getting to travel to another country and getting paid to fight is pretty cool, too.”

Salaverry has 10 finishes -- five submissions and five knockouts -- among his 13 professional MMA victories, and his resume includes wins over Andrei Semenov, Joe Riggs and Tony Fryklund. He has also tested his skills against 2000 Olympic silver medalist Matt Lindland and Pride Fighting Championships veteran Akihiro Gono. With that broad scope of opposition and having fought for so many organizations over the course of his career, Salaverry has great experiences upon which to draw.

“Honestly, I’ve done a lot and I’ve enjoyed the heck out of it,” said Salaverry, who plans to continue fighting as a middleweight. “I’ve had a great time and made a lot of great friends because of this sport.

“Goals aren’t important to me anymore, except for having some epic fights,” he added. “When I say epic fights, I’m not talking about a first-round knockout. I’m talking about the fights that test you physically, test your soul and are wars of attrition, the kind of fight where both guys have had great camps and come in and leave everything out there. I just want to experience fights that satisfy my soul.”
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