RIO DE JANEIRO – Ihor Potieria knows he’s fighting someone that’s in the MMA history books.
The UFC rookie is taking on one of the most respected and legendary names still active in MMA – Mauricio Rua. Potieria (18-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) is scheduled to take on ‘Shogun’ (27-13-1 MMA, 11-11-1 UFC) in the final preliminary bout of UFC 283 on Saturday night in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It’s Rua’s retirement fight from MMA.
Potieria admitted at Wednesday’s media day that he was in disbelief when he got the call to fight a living legend, it took him a while to process the idea.
“I was actually sleeping and my manager Ali Abdelaziz called me and said, ‘You’re fighting ‘Shogun,”” Potieria said recalling the moment he found out he was fighting the Brazilian. “I was kind of sleeping still and said, ‘Wait, who is that?,’ and then once I came to it, I realized, ‘No way God gave me such a chance to fight such a legend.’”
Potieria, 26, has been watching Rua fight since he was a young teenager. He’s very grateful to get the opportunity to share the cage with a former UFC champion and Pride FC star. He once joked about potentially fighting ‘Shogun’ when he was young and he think it’s crazy that came to fruition.
“I was 16 years old when I started training and maybe after like a month of training, I saw a video on YouTube that said, ‘The most dangerous fighter in the world,’ and it said ‘Shogun’ Rua,” Potieria said. “I was messing with my boys and I said maybe one day I’ll fight him. And they were like, ‘Yeah, right. You’ve been training for four months. Slow down.’
“But eventually, with the right training and if you keep going, you create these opportunities for yourself. With God’s help and with the right energy, it is me now who has to fight him on Saturday, and I’m very happy for this chance.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 283.