Striking sensation Sadibou Sy ready to score gold and win ‘tons of money’ in PFL championship
Swedish MMA fighter Sadibou Sy lives by the philosophy that every fight is the most important of his career. However, when he enters the cage at the 2022 PFL finals on November 25, there is more pressure and a lot more at stake than usual.
In an exclusive interview with Frontkick, Sy opens up on the upcoming fight against Dilano Taylor – a fight that can make him a PFL champion as well as put one million dollars in his bank account.
“I’ve got a chance to win my fifth world title and tons of money. I would never underestimate my opponent, but he’s not the toughest on paper. However, it’s all that surrounds this fight that makes it hard,” Sy says.
”Stylistically Taylor suits me perfectly. He has a striking background, just like me, so I don’t think he will offer anything I haven’t seen before. He will try to do what I do, but I’m sure I will do it better. I keep a better distance, I’m stronger and a more creative striker.”
With that said, the Swede still appreciates what his opponent accomplished during the season.
”He has been very available as a backup fighter. To be in his position, not knowing if he will be competing or not, but staying ready and on weight to go in and perform – that’s very impressive!”
Relocated to Las Vegas in January
When you talk to the 35-year-old Swede you can tell he’s in a good place in life. He seems happy about where his career is, and confident in his abilities as a fighter.
Since moving to Las Vegas in January, he has alternated between Xtreme Couture MMA and the UFC Performance Institute, where he spent months sharpening his wrestling and grappling. The grinding gave good results, and considering that his next opponent is a striker, Sy now started to do more kickboxing again.
”In general, they focus more on wrestling here in the States than what I’m used to in Sweden. But the more comfortable I get in wrestling and grappling, the better my striking gets. I can wrestle for rounds now without getting tired. It used to be taxing, but now I’m confident in my abilities. But I’m still developing as a fighter and still have much to learn.”
Sadibou Sy’s humble and positive mindset shines through during the interview, and he often circles back to how important the right mentality and attitude is for his fighting.
”It’s so easy to look past an opponent, looking ahead to your next fight. And what happens then? You will face someone who’s trained twice a day, six days a week, with nothing else in mind than defeating you.”
“I fought three times in three months”
In the last couple of years, PFL has expanded big time and the promotion is now widely considered to be the best outside of UFC. When Sadibou Sy joined back in 2018, it wasn’t by far as big as it is today. Looking back at his years in the organization, he sees one thing that makes PFL unique.
“It’s a fighter-friendly promotion, they show great understanding on how we feel and what we go through. PFL are very responsive in that way, they listen to us after every season, trying to make it better every year. That’s a big reason, I think, why so many fighters want to be a part of the promotion. It’s not just the money – they really look after the fighters. I’m very happy here and enjoy being a part of this organization.”
What’s the biggest difference between PFL and other major promotions in your eyes?
”The security. Many fighters like the fact that in the PFL, you always know when you will compete. You get your fight dates at the beginning of every season, you get paid for every fight – and you have the chance to win the title as well as one million dollars.”
However, there is a flip side to the coin.
“It can be difficult to reload after every fight, to stay healthy and clear from injuries. I fought three times in three months, and it’s a challenge to stay healthy and keep your weight.”
In good position for securing lucrative deal
During the 2022 season, the Swedish welterweight won all his fights by decision.
In the first bout he defeated Nikolay Aleksakhin, just to face former UFC title contender Rory MacDonald two months later. Sadibou Sy put on a great performance in the pivotal fight, securing a playoff spot by way of unanimous decision.
In the semifinals he defeated Carlos Leal, also by unanimous decision. The fact that all three bouts went the distance is a receipt showing how the Swede developed his game.
”Take the fight against Rory MacDonald as an example. I mean, whoever I face I always have the chance to win by knockout because of my striking. But if you dominate your opponent for three rounds it leaves no questions. For me, that would have been hard to do just two years ago because of wrestling. Now I can really show how I’ve improved, not only to the PFL and the fans, but to myself as well.”
”However, I’ve got one fight left, and nothing matters if I don’t win this one.”
With his contract expiring after the 2022 season, the 35-year-old is now in a very good position to negotiate a new lucrative deal with the promotion. According to Sy, the PFL made it clear that they want him to stay.
Will you stick around for another season?
”When I win the title I will stay and defend it for sure. I have a good feeling now, there was a lot at stake this season, since it was the last year on my current contract. To fight well and put myself in a good position makes me happy. It proves that I’m able to perform at my best when it matters the most.”
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