Ilia Topuria becomes the first Georgian UFC featherweight world champion

Ilia Topuria with the featherweight belt

 TBILISI – Mixed martial artist Ilia Topuria knocked out Alexander Volkanovski in the main event of the Ultimate Fighting Championship at the Honda Center in California to become the new featherweight champion on Saturday.

 Topuria declared himself a UFC world champion in his social media bio for months before he actually became the first Georgian to win a title.

 Topuria was born in Germany to Georgian parents. At the early age he moved to Georgia with his parents where he started practicing Greco-Roman wrestling at school. He moved to Alicante, Spain at the age of 15, where he started practicing martial arts at the Climent club. He still fights for this team.

 In 2015 he started to participate as a professional in local competitions. After winning a belt in Mix Fight Events on the Spanish regional scene in 2018, he made his international debut at Cage MMA Finland.

 This victory marks Ilia Topuria’s 15th consecutive win in MMA, maintaining an undefeated record in his career. This match also saw him win his third Performance of the Night award. On the other hand, Volkanovski had previously defended the championship belt five times.

 "I feel so happy right now,” the 27-year-old champion said after winning his title. “They are going to tell you; you cannot do it. They will knock you down and doubt you. But guess what? The only person you need to have your back in this life, is yourself. Just trust yourself. Work tirelessly, have faith and everything is possible. I worked so hard. Look at me now.’’