Interview by Bezimyanniy with Alexandra Albu and her manager Andrey Tsarkov
Bezimyanniy – Hello Andrey. It is good to meet you again. Nice to see that after all this time Alexandra and you can prepare for her UFC debut without any interruptions. Can you tell us how UFC brass reacted to the news about Alexandra not being able to compete because of her injury?
Andrey Tsarkov – Our manager Sam Kardan has contacted them about it. There was no negativity from them. They gave us time to recuperate fully. We had all medical papers in order so there were no problems at all.
So there is a big uproar now raging through the MMA community. I’m talking of course about steroid allegations. Especially after Anderson Silva getting caught for PEDs. Some say he used prescribed drugs to boost the healing process of his infamous leg injury. Not long ago Alexandra suffered serious leg injury too and had to go with surgery. Did she get any medications that can jeopardize test results? No, there was nothing like that. The operation was seven months ago. Most of the time after that we only used physiotherapy and healing power of time.
Bez – Alexandra’s opponent is quite a big girl for her weight class and a good grappler too. How did you train for her? More of grappling or striking?
AT – Oh. We have a complex training regime. We train ground game and stand-up equally.
Bez – Alexandra’s UFC debut is nearing closer. Is she worried? What do you tell Alexandra to prepare her for such experience?
AT – Most of mental preparation will be done right before the fight. And during the camp she gets her confidence from training itself by feeling stronger and more complete fighter as camp progresses. Around same time we break down her opponent, possible situations during the fight which is always helpful for the fighter’s mental state.
Bez – Who is going with you to Poland? How many guys from the team does the UFC even allow?
AT – The UFC pays for a fighter and coach. We’ll probably have one of Sasha’s sparring partners with us. Sam (Kardan) will join us in Poland.
Bez – Every fighter these days has a banner. Do you have one? And if yes, who will be represented on it?
AT – Yeah, our banner is ready. We will have logos of our team “MMA-KEGI, Sam Kardan’s “Red Fury” and our sponsor Warrior company. We would like to express gratitude to all who helped us. Especially to Stanislav Nikolsky who helped us organize training the way we wanted.
Bez – Got any free space on your banner?
AT – Yes. We are open to suggestions.
Bez – Alexandra, good to see you in such good spirits. Can you tell us about your injury that has kept you from debuting in the UFC for so long?
Alexandra Albu – I tore my ACL in training and injured my meniscus. They had to stitch ACL together. Rehabilitation took seven months.
Bez – At first you planned to fight at bantamweight… Since then the UFC has introduced strawweight. How did you react to this? Was it a blessing in disguise?
AA – Actually it is my real weight. I don’t need to put on extra weight and I feel great.
Bez – How much do you weight right now?
AA – Around 122 lbs.
Bez – Would it be a problem for you to drop seven pounds? ‘Cause honestly you don’t look like you have much excessive weight.
AA – Oh, no it wouldn’t be a problem at all. Before my last fight I had dropped six pounds in about two hours because of some problems. With proper preparation it will be easy.
Bez – The girl you are fighting, Isabella Badurek, fought as featherweight and is kinda bigger than you. What is your gameplan against a bigger grappler?
AA – I don’t see this as a problem. I train with male lightweights all the time. Honestly, I don’t think there are any teams around here that can compare to MMA-KEGI in intensity of training. As of sparring, I spar mostly with men but sometimes with girls too.
Bez – You have pretty good grappling yourself, but we haven’t seen you compete in grappling much. Why is that?
AA – Huh? I competed a lot in Russian grappling tournaments before the injury. I would like to grapple at higher level in future but right now I concentrate on my UFC debut.
Bez – You look very athletic compared to most WMMA fighters. Can you give us your secret? How do you train, what do you eat?
AA – I train at least ten times a week. It includes MMA, crossfit and cardio training. Sunday is a resting day. I use sports nutrition. I try to eat healthy all the time.
Bez – Do you regret you will be debuting in Poland? If it was in the USA you could’ve visited famous camps and maybe learn something new.
AA – I would’ve preferred going to the USA for my debut honestly. To train with real professionals, meet other girls, even meet Ronda Rousey. But Poland is good too. The best thing is that I won’t have to acclimatize at all.
Bez – And if you had the opportunity? What teams do you wanna visit most?
AA – I don’t really have particular one in mind. I think Sam Kardan can arrange something and hook us up with right connections. I definitely want to meet Ronda Rousey. She is very experienced and shows something new and different every other year. I’d like to meet Cris Cyborg too.
Bez – And what about male fighters?
AA – Hmm, hard to tell. Let me remember. The blonde one with a beard. Ah yes, I remember. Connor McGregor. Great fighter and he is fast.
Bez – In your last interview you said you liked Cyborg more. Have you changed your mind?
AA – I like that Ronda became much more well-rounded. Her striking is much more different than before. I like Cyborg too. Her last performance was a pure dominance. She still packs a huge punch.
Bez – Sam Kardan is from the Caucasus and Ronda is pretty much armenian. There is a clear connection you can use to get to Glendale academy.
AA – I would like to. But it depends if anybody can sponsor to make such a trip. We go to Thailand by ourselves but the USA would’ve been much more interesting.
Bez – Maryna Moroz also debuts in Krakow against Joanne Calderwood. Do you know her?
AA – Yes, yes I saw her but have not actually met. She looked really strong but slim at the same time.
Bez – Have you watched TUF 20?
AA – Only some episodes. I would like to watch the entire season but time is a luxury I cannot afford. Actually I don’t follow fight businesses closely. If I have an opponent we pretty much concentrate on her. No time for anything else.
Bez – Many people still say that MMA and combat sports in general are not for women. What can you say to these people?
AA – I don’t really know what to say. I like martial arts and have been training since I was ten. I have trained in MMA for five years. So who is to say that martial arts are not for women?
Bez – Can you give us your twitter or instagram account for your fans to follow?
AA – Yes, I have an instagram account it is @stitchalbu… Also https://twitter.com/albustich is my twitter account but I haven’t posted anything lately.
Bez – Have you decided on your walkout song?
AA – Yep. It will be Madonna’s “Like a Prayer”.
Bez – If your opponent Izabela reads this interview, what would you like to tell her?
AA – Good luck. Have patience and stay away from the injuries.