ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A Kurdish Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter said he is eager to make his professional debut after winning gold at the 2017 IMMAF World Championships in November.
Serdar Altas, born in a small village called Kerboran in the Kurdish-city of Merdin in southern Turkey, told Kurdish MMA in a recent interview that he is eager to make his professional MMA debut and become a world champion.
Altas, 23, said he has enjoyed the spotlight following his victory against opponent Yernaz Mussabek in the flyweight division (125 lbs) at the 2017 International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) Championship in Bahrain on Nov. 18.
“Ever since I won the gold medal, I have been getting a lot of attention and support in the media and have gained a lot of new fans, which is a plus,” he stated.
“It has motivated me to train harder because my goal now is to become a [professional MMA fighter],” Altas added. “I hope to sign a contract soon and make my pro debut.”
The Kurdish athlete said he “learned a lot” about himself after winning gold, and admitted there “is always room for improvement.”
Altas, who describes himself as an all-round fighter, said he hoped to make his professional debut in 2018 to “reach the pinnacle [of MMA] and become the UFC champion.”
The 23-year-old moved to Sweden in 2008 with his family where he was reunited with his father, but said he will never forget his Kurdish roots.
“I live in Sweden, but my heart still belongs to Kurdistan,” he said. “I will always remember my roots.”
“I just want to say [to my Kurdish fans], I love you all and thank you for all the support,” Altas said.
He began training in 2013 as a hobby but quickly fell in love with the sport and has been involved ever since.
Altas is one of the longest-serving members of Sweden’s national MMA team—the top ranked nation in the IMMAF world rankings.
In addition to his gold medal in November, the Kurdish athlete has previously won the 2016 IMMAF Africa Open and the 2016 European Open titles.