‘I’m always interested in fighting him’ – Shamil Gasanov pushes for rematch with Garry Tonon

Shamil Gasanov says he’s willing to fight anyone that brings him closer to a rematch with former foe Garry Tonon.

ONE featherweight MMA contender Shamil “The Cobra” Gasanov is now just days away from his main event clash against Oh Ho Taek at ONE Fight Night 18, but he’s still ruminating on his crushing July 2023 loss to submission specialist Garry Tonon.

After an impressive promotional debut in October 2022, the Russian shot up ONE’s featherweight MMA rankings to earn a shot at Tonon. In that fight, Gasanov looked strong in the first round, punishing the multiple-time ADCC veteran with big ground strikes to cut him open.

But in the second, Tonon stormed back to apply a picture-perfect kneebar and hand “The Cobra” his first career defeat.

A talented grappler in his own right, Gasanov says that he wanted to prove he was a better ground fighter than the ultra-accomplished Tonon. That strategic choice would prove to be his downfall.

Gasanov said in a recent interview with ONE Championship:

In my previous fight, I disregarded my corner’s instructions when I caught a whiff of blood and let my ego get the better of me. I wanted to prove to myself that I was superior to Garry in the grappling game. This lapse in judgment cost me a fight! I’ve pledged to my trainer that I’ll always follow the game plan… I vowed to face Garry Tonon in a rematch if he continues to compete.”

Tonon is currently booked against former two-division ONE World Champion Martin Nguyen later this month, so a potential rematch with Gasanov will have to wait.

Gasanov says he plans to win as many fights as necessary to secure a rematch with the American, and that begins with Oh Ho Taek this Friday night.

He added:

“I don’t want to ask for a fight with Garry; I want to earn it! I understand that he might not be interested in this fight right now. But I’ll take any fight that brings me closer to facing Tonon. And yes, I’m always interested in fighting him. It doesn’t matter if he wins or loses his next fight, or even if I become champion before him. I’ll accept a fight with him at any time.”

How to watch: ONE Fight Night 18 takes place on Friday, January 12, and will air live on Prime Video (free with Amazon Plus subscription) beginning at 8:00 PM ET.

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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