Yoni Sherbatov: "I can’t wait to see what Askarov does when he comes up against a real MMA fighter"

Yoni Sherbatov: "I can’t wait to see what Askarov does when he comes up against a real MMA fighter"

Russian born Yoni Sherbatov is one of the latest high ranked flyweights to join the ACB roster and he pulls no punches on his intentions in this frank and up front interview with ACB’s play-by-play commentator Bryan Lacey. 
He is hungry for a fight and he isn’t looking to ease himself into the mix! 


Bryan: Firstly, it’s great to have you as part of ACB’s flyweight division. What were the factors that drew you to signing with ACB? 

Yoni: After the Ultimate Fighter show I had another fight for a league in Montreal, Canada and it was after that fight that some one from ACB made contact so I looked into them and I was very excited! I saw ACB were signing UFC level fighters including Zach Makovsky and I thought this is what I need, I need to fight great fighters and I saw all the ranked fighters that ACB have and it just made me more and more excited to fight for that organisation. 


Bryan: You’re based in Canada now but you were born in Russia, is that correct? 

Yoni: Yeah, I was born in Moscow and I lived there for two years, then we moved to Israel for a year and then straight to Canada where I am now. I’m actually able to speak Russian French and English all fluently. 


Bryan: So have you ever actually competed in Russia before? 

Yoni: No, never and this is something that really excites me because I want to be able to walk in to the cage and represent Russia. That’s a dream that I have never told to anybody. I didn’t really think about it until I got a call from a Russian organisation and now I have the opportunity to show to all my Russain friends that I am here and I am the next fighter that is going to take that belt! So with me being from Russia, fighting for a Russian promotion and looking to be the champion that’s kinda cool! 


Bryan: Let’s talk about your experience of the UFC show The Ultimate fighter. Your season was one of the most interesting as it took champions in your weight class from different promotions all over the world to compete against each other on the show. What did you learn about yourself as a fighter and as a martial artist by training and testing yourself against other champions from around the world? 

Yoni: Every athlete that was on the show was a great. You could see that we were champions because we respected each other. There were moments when alcohol or cabin fever meant tensions raised but we were locked in a house with no contact with the outside world for six weeks so the was bound to happen. What it helped me to grow from it was to become a stronger athlete. Not physically but mentally. I went in to the show with a fractured hand from a fight I had with Tyson Nam before the competition started so in the show I had to just bite down on my mouth piece and just keep smiling and training without showing my pain and because I was able to get through it and survive, and I mean in the sense of mentally surviving, then I know I am able to do anything. There was also the fact that I lost a child during the time I was in The Ultimate Fighter so coming back home I was a different person. Not a different athlete, a different person. I mean nothing is going to stop me now, I have been through hell and come out the other side. 


Bryan: I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your baby. Mentally that must have been hugely challenging to be away when that happened. I cannot imagine the fire that is in your belly now to compete and get back inside the cage. 

Yoni: I am not an angry person so I won’t use it like that. I am a business man in the sense that this is work but that happening was an experience of life. After loosing a child loosing a fight is nothing. It’s like dropping a peanut, it’s nothing I can’t fix. I can get back to the gym, change up my training and go again but loosing a son is real life. I’ll never see him again or hold him again. So now a fights a fight. If I loose the next day is just the next day - that’s all it is. 


Bryan: You mentioned you were one of the favourites to win the series and your loss was the biggest upset by far. Talk me through that fight? 

Yoni: I didn’t get as far as people expected me to in the show, I lost in the first round and I was seeded number two. I was expected to break everybody and in practice I was doing great. Even Henry Cejudo was freaking out! I was sparring with Henry and doing take downs on him and he was freaking out at how good I was. So I was doing what I needed to do in practice but unfortunately on fight day, at that moment I didn’t show up but with all that experience behind me all I’m going to say to you is that Askar Askarov needs to bring his A-game when I face him because he is going down! I am going to get him. I have already been texting him! I’ve been saying ‘let’s go man, let’s make this fight!’. I really want to fight him, I’d fight him tomorrow if I could! 


Bryan: Askar Askarov is the flyweight champion and he’s been dominant as our champion in this division. What are your thoughts on him as an opponent and fighter? 

Yoni: I’m going to describe this very simply for you. This guy is lanky with long arms, long legs and he uses that distance well. The guys he fights are pretty average fighters, not looking to take any credit from them but they are average and what they do is they panic and try to get close with wrestling where he drains their energy and then he uses his wresting and his low, average jiu jitsu to submit them. I can’t wait to see what he does when he comes up against a real boxer, a real wrestler, a real jiu jitsu player a real MMA fighter. I’ve been wrestling with the national team, I’ve been boxing with top, elite Russian boxers who came to train here in Canada. These are my sparring partners! Just ask them and they let him know just who’s coming to get him! He’s a good fighter, I won’t take that from him but I have seen much better fighters than him and I’m coming for him! 


Bryan: Would you want that for your first fight in ACB or would you want a warm up first? 

Yoni: I’ll take him and I’ll take any other fight! For me it's just been a long time waiting to get a name and I’m chasing the matchmaker everyday. It’s been so long and I just want to get a fight now. I’ve even said to the matchmaker don’t even give me a name, just tell me a date and that’s it! I’m ready to go! I would love that Askarov fight then I’ll have the belt and I don’t need to ask for fights, they’ll say ‘he’s next’ and I’ll be great! That’s the guy who want to challenge me next, lets do this! 


Bryan: For the ACB fans who haven’t seen you fight before how would you describe your style? 

Yoni: It’s mixed martial arts man! I flow, I can wrestle with a wrestler and then throw punches and knees before he even knows they are coming. I was a national champion in Taekwondo, I was a national champion in wrestling. I’ve been a professional boxer, I’ve medaled in the worlds at jiu jitsu. I’m elite everywhere and I can’t wait to show the ACB fans what I do. I’m a mixed martial artist. 


Bryan: One last question, do you have a message for the ACB fans before you step in to the cage? 

Yoni: Thank you to ACB for giving me the opportunity to showcase my talent in their league and everybody from Dagestan, Azerbaijan, Chechnya, all over that part of the world and beyond I want to say guys, be ready I can’t wait to show you want I do!

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