For UFC light heavyweight Ihor Potieria, the best way to explain his post-fight celebration after retiring Shogun Rua was to do it again.
Potieria got some heat after sending the ex-champ packing on a TKO loss, with one UFC vet declaring “OK now I hate this guy” after the Ukrainian fighter appeared to gloat with a dance.
It’s a problem when you don’t have a disclaimer. So Potieria did one, as he showed the moves that he had in the Octagon after Shogun was stopped in the Octagon. As it turns out, he was showing the champ nothing but respect.
” My nickname is Duelist and that was an duel. I took out the gun, but did not fire,” Potieria said via translator, mimicking the action of a gunfighter firing his gun into the air. “I fired in the air because I respect my opponent. So I said to him: ‘Respect .'”
The crowd in Rio de Janeiro hoped Rua would go out and probably expected Potieria to be nothing more than a blank canvas for the Brazilian legend to complete his final violent piece. They had some ammunition after Potieria’s loss in his first fight. The Ukranian claimed that his debut UFC bout didn’t reveal the full story and that he was intended to be much more than a stepping stone.
” If I’m there, they likely see something in me,” said he. “If you don’t know, I’m from Ukraine, and for us from Ukraine, it’s a one in a million chance to get into an organization like the UFC. The fact that I am here is proof of my ability to do my job. Because I am constantly improving, I can beat Shogun .”
With the win over Rua, Potieria gets back in the win column after seeing an impressive 15-fight winning streak snapped by Nicolae Negumereanu in his UFC debut at UFC 277. He also puts the biggest name yet on his resume and, hopefully, gets the benefit of the doubt next time he steps in the cage.
Check out Potieria’s complete interview.