Gokhan Saki Re-Signs With Glory Kickboxing, Joins Collision 3 Lineup

By Blaine Henry Oct 8, 2021

Editor's note: The article has been updated at 2:15 p.m. on Oct. 8 to reflect the news of Saki's first opponent.

Vaunted kickboxer Gokhan Saki is returning to the sport after over six years away and a two-fight stint in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The kickboxing legend known as “The Rebel” announced early on Friday morning that he has signed with Glory Kickboxing again. Saki (81-16, 1 NC; 58 KOs) will be competing on Oct. 23 at Glory: Collision 3, and per Beyond Kickboxing and a poster from the organization, he will be taking on James McSweeney (46-7, 31 KOs) in the co-headlining bout. Saki competed at the inaugural Glory event, knocking Carter Williams out in two minutes. He went on to step in the Glory ring eight more times before leaving for MMA.

Saki shook up the combat sports world when as an 0-1 pro MMA fighter, he signed with the UFC in 2017. His debut could not have gone better, knocking Henrique da Silva out in the first round and taking home a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” check. He returned to action at UFC 226 in 2018, and Khalil Rountree demolished him in 96 seconds to ultimately put an end to his MMA career. Although he attempted to return against Saparbek Safarov in 2019, he withdrew due to injury and was released in early 2021.

The former Glory light heavyweight champ and a one-time K-1 Grand Prix champion claimed the Glory crown in a much-anticipated rematch with Tyrone Spong, and Spong broke his leg early into the contest. Earlier in his Glory run, he faced off against heavyweight kingpin Rico Verhoeven at Glory 6 in 2013, and he fell short by a majority decision.

Like his opponent, McSweeney is returning to kickboxing after leaving MMA behind. The veteran of Season 10 of "The Ultimate Fighter" announced in September that he would be pursuing kickboxing full-time. He engaged in a tournament with Mix Fighting Championship at the end of 2019, making it to the finals by knocking out Murat Aygun but falling short to Ismael Londt later that night.

Glory Collision 3 takes place at the GelreDome in the Netherlands on Oct. 23. The pay-per-view event can be purchased at the Glory Kickboxing website, while Glory 79 will serve as the preliminary card that will air on the Sherdog YouTube page.
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