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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 8 December, 2019

There's another SBG fighter making big statements in the UFC's featherweight division

Makwan Amirkhani moved to 3-0 in the UFC on Saturday.

download UFC featherweight Makwan Amirkhani.

MAKWAN AMIRKHANI SAYS he’ll have Straight Blast Gym head coach John Kavanagh in his corner for his next UFC outing, having picked up his third consecutive win in the octagon in London over the weekend.

Amirkhani displayed his impressive grappling en route to overcoming Mike Wilkinson via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 84 at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday.

After beginning his time in the UFC with first-round stoppages of Andy Ogle and Masio Fullen in 2015, Amirkhani is now 3-0 with MMA’s leading organisation and 13-2 for his career overall.

The 27-year-old Finn spent three weeks of his training camp for the meeting with Wilkinson at SBG in Dublin, after leaving his previous gym — Allstars in Stockholm — as a result of a disagreement with a team-mate back in November.

Amirkhani’s initial visit to Dublin was a temporary arrangement in order to see if he and SBG were a good fit. In an interview with The42 last month, he said: “If you want to be the best you’ve got to train with the best. I can’t train in places where I don’t feel comfortable or where the athletes don’t have the same mission.”

However, Amirkhani now looks set to make SBG his permanent base. After Saturday’s win, he sent a message to reporters regarding his intentions in the featherweight division, which is currently topped by SBG’s biggest star, Conor McGregor.

With nine fighters competing on Saturday evening’s BAMMA 24 card at Dublin’s 3Arena, SBG chief John Kavanagh was unable to be in Amirkhani’s corner in London. However, the fighter says that will change from now on.

When asked if he plans to stick with SBG, Amirkhani said: “Yes, definitely. I was talking to John Kavanagh this morning, I said I would be so happy if you would be here today. I could show you that I belong to SBG and that I’m part of the team. He said, ‘Just finish this fight and for the next fight I will definitely be there, for sure’.

“Everybody in the featherweight [division] should be scared. When I step into SBG and spend more time there, all they can expect from me is a really dangerous fighter after this when I go there.”

As speculation increases that Conor McGregor will vacate the UFC featherweight title before ever defending the belt which he won via a 13-second KO of Jose Aldo in December, Amirkhani seems determined to ensure that the strap stays on the Naas Road.

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Paul Dollery

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