190905 Mairbek Taisumov
Mairbek Taisumov Image Credit: Organisers

Abu Dhabi: Mairbek Taisumov was the show-stealer at UFC 242 Media Day on Thursday when he stormed on to the stage for the ‘staredowns’, wearing a red and white checkered ghutra and John Lennon-style sunglasses.

Taisumov, who takes on Brazil’s Carlos Diego Ferreira, cried out for more respect from the UFC as he pursues his dreams.

“I don’t want to disrespect Diego Ferreira, but I want to fight a top fighter, I deserve a top opponent. But they don’t give me what I deserve. I put all my life into my dream, but how can I chase it without any support.”

Taisumov also revealed that the ghutra was given to him by a member of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family.

“A Sheikh gave it to me, it’s a privilege to wear it,” he said.

Meanwhile, American Curtis Blaydes says he intends to make a statement when he takes on Russia’s Shamil Abdurakhimov in the main card at UFC 24.

No. 4-ranked Blaydes hopes that a good performance with help him get a shot at one of the big names in the division.

“Look, there’s a lot of talk about what happens after this fight, which is OK, but I first want to take care of Shamil on Saturday,” he said at UFC Media Day. “I’m going to do what I do best, and that is beat him up.

“After that we’ll see. I level it up to them to decide.”

Guys like Francis Ngannou, Daniel Cormier, Stipe Miocic or even Jon Jones could be a next opponent, but Blaydes refused to get into that discussion.