Why Devin Clark called out Russia's Magomed Ankalaev

Thursday, April 18, 2019

For some fighters, traveling the globe to fight is one of the major perks of the job. It allows some the opportunity to see places that they otherwise might never have seen. Russia was more than just a fun new opportunity for Devin Clark, it was something he’s been seeking for some time.

“Well, I actually wanted to fight in Russia,” he said. “I actually called one of the Russian fighters, [Magomed Ankalaev], out because I wanted to fight in Russia.”

And while the precise callout didn’t exactly land (Clark will instead be fighting newcomer Ivan Shtyrkov), he was still pumped to find out he’d gotten his wish.

“I was super excited when my manager called me and said ‘Hey we got the fight in Russia.' Super excited about it," he said, repeating, "I’ve always wanted to fight in Russia.”

Although he is interested in seeing what Russia has to offer, the interest is much more based in business. Having worked with fighters from the region, Clark has always been intrigued by their view on his chosen profession.

“The fighting culture is there and I’ve trained with some Russians and people from that area,” he said. “Fighting is in their culture and the respect that they have for people that choose to fight for a living is pretty high.”

With that being said, he’s still the one going into hostile territory this weekend. With that comes a bit of added pressure, but also the possibility of being like something out of a movie.

“It’s one of those things as a fighter, going to fight in Russia, maybe the Rocky or the Creed-type deal,” he said. “It just always seemed like a cool opportunity.”

Clark hopes to take more after Rocky than he does Creed this weekend, as he faces off with Shtyrkov on the main card portion of UFC on ESPN+ 7

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Author Daniel Vreeland is a co-founder of the Top Turtle Podcast, and a brown belt in Jiu-Jitsu at New England Submission Fighting in Amherst, Massachusetts.