ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Kurdish Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter has ranked number one in the featherweight (145 lbs) category of the updated 2018 Nordic rankings.
The Nordic rankings are updated monthly with top-ranked fighters from or living in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
Makwan Amirkhani (14-3-0), who fights out of Turku, Finland, was born in the Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhilat) city of Kermanshah. He ranks number one in the December 2018 Nordic rankings.
The 30-year-old has been involved in the sport since an early age after moving to Finland with his family during the Iran-Iraq war, first as a competitive wrestler for the Finnish national team before competing as a professional MMA fighter.
The Kurd has left a mark on the world’s most prominent MMA stage, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), recording the fastest win in the competition’s featherweight division when he knocked out opponent Andy Ogle after eight seconds of the first round in January 2015.
With a string of impressive performances, the Kurdish athlete has said in the past that he believes he earns a title shot against current UFC featherweight champion Max Halloway (20-3-0) who on Saturday defended his title against Brian Ortega (13-1-0).
Elsewhere in the Nordic rankings, another Kurdish MMA fighter made the top five of the flyweight (125 lbs) category.
Sweden’s Serdar Altas (3-0) was ranked number five after a run of 12 consecutive wins, including amateur bouts.
The 23-year-old recently defeated opponent Bilal Musa (2-4-0) in the first round at Superior Challenge 18 on Dec. 1.
Before making his professional MMA debut, Altas won gold at the 2017 International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) Championship, as well as titles at the IMMAF Africa Open and European Open in 2016.
The Kurdish athlete was born in a small village called Kerboran in the Kurdish-city of Merdin in southern Turkey.
Altas previously told Kurdistan 24 his goal is “to put Kurdistan on the map.”