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Exclusive: Defending MMA world champ Nikolija Milosevic explains decision to change flags



Swedish amateur bantamweight standout Nikolija Milosevic is getting ready for the upcoming 2022 IMMAF World Championships in Serbia.

Ahead of the tournament, the IMMAF double champion, who’s got dual citizenship and Serbian parents, chose to switch national representation from Sweden to join Serbia’s national team.

In an exclusive interview with Frontkick, the 26-year-old opens up on why she decided to represent Serbia in the games.

“MMA has already had its breakthrough in Sweden. Historically, we’ve done very well in international tournaments,” Milosevic says. “Nothing has really happened to the sport since I won gold, and MMA in Sweden kind of reached a status quo. In Serbia, however, MMA is still new, and they invest in the sport. If I win gold here, it will make a difference, and that’s important to me.”

How will MMA change in Serbia if you win?

“For example, my friends opened a MMA gym in my hometown here in Serbia. If Serbia does well in the tournament, gyms will get financial support from the state. Then they will be able to compete abroad, go on camps, to seminaries and so on. It’s a relatively poor country compared to the Scandinavian countries, so gyms here can’t afford these things by themselves. If I win, it can give MMA gyms more opportunities.”

Milosevic, who’s the first fighter to benefit from the new IMMAF rules regarding change of nationality, received nothing but good reactions when she revealed her decision.

“There’s a lot of fighters that can take my place in the Swedish National Team. There’s been no arguing or trouble whatsoever, the Swedish MMA Federation has been very fair to me.”

Read more: Swedish MMA world champion Nikolija Milosevic switches national team: “Once-in-a-lifetime moment”

Nikolija Milosevic MMA 2 Frontkick online

Photo: IMMAF

“Like fighting the final boss in a video game”

When Nikolija Milosevic entered last year’s IMMAF World Championships, she felt like an underdog, and was quite unknown on the international scene.

“I wasn’t myself during the World Championships because of the first fight. In the very first round of the tournament, my opponent took my soul. It was like fighting the final boss in a video game. Lucky me, it was in the first fight though, when I was healthy and lively,” Milosevic laughs.

However, after winning gold in both the World Championships, and European Championships, she enters the cage in Belgrade as one of the absolute brighest shining amatuer MMA stars.

“I expect to have my toughest fights ever honestly. With more filmed material on me, my opponents can study me better than before. They will come at me with all they got. There will be no boring fights for sure. It will be a show!”

Nikolija Milosevic will go pro in 2023

Talking to Frontkick a few months back, Milosevic revealed that her plan was to go pro after winning the IMMAF European Championships last year.

However, when she realized that the World Cup takes place in February, she felt like giving it one final run as an amatuer.

“It gives you so much experience to fight in international tournaments, but I feel like I can’t fight as an amatuer much longer. The younger generation must get a chance to fight in the National team as well. That’s my opinion,” Milosevic says.

“My plan is to compete at least once as a professional fighter in 2023. However, it seems like a hell of a project to get a pro fight, so I don’t expect it to happen in the next few months, but at least one fight in 2023.”

Read more: Here’s every fighter from Team Sweden ahead of IMMAF world championships

The 2022 IMMAF World Championships will take place on 11-18 February in Belgrade, Serbia. Follow Frontkick for the latest updated!