Andreas Michailidis. Remember the name.
Michailidis will make his first appearance in the UFC on July 15, becoming the first Greek athlete to enter the United States MMA competition.
“I am the second Greece-born athlete, but I am the first guy to actually make it to the UFC from Greece,” Michailidis told BJPENN.com.
“I didn’t move somewhere else to make it to the UFC, like the United States. Over the years, I have traveled to the Allstars Training Centre in Sweden for my camps but day-to-day I live and train in Greece at EFL MMA.
“Now that Greece is on the map of the MMA world, I think in the near future you will see that there are many competitive fighters in Greece.”
The 31-year-old fighter stepped in on just 10 days’ notice to fight former Cage Warriors light heavyweight belt-holder Modestas Bukauskas, after the English-Lithuanian fighter’s original opponent was forced off due to a positive COVID-19 test.
The Greek fighter was initially supposed to compete for the Cage Warriors middleweight strap this past April. As COVID-19 entered the arena, the event was cancelled, delaying his debut for the UFC.
“My fight for the Cage Warriors middleweight championship belt which was canceled this year due to COVID–19 was actually the second Cage Warriors fight I’ve had fall through. I was previously supposed to fight Jack Marshman for the middleweight championship belt but he was signed to the UFC and our fight was dropped.
“After those two cancellations, my management team organized the Contender Series fight in September, and shortly after we were offered the chance to fight in the UFC, which we couldn’t pass up.”
Before reaching the UFC, Michailidis fought all around the world for multiple promotions, in the likes of Bellator, Fight Nights Global, King of the Cage, and Titan Fighting Championship. He’s now only the second Greece-born athlete to compete in the UFC.
Before him, there was American-Greek lightweight Anthony Christodoulou, who racked up two losses and no victories during his time with the promotion.
“There are a number of reasons that MMA is not currently thriving in Greece,” the proud Hellenic concluded.
“Most kids need to work for money and make the time commitment needed to train. MMA is also a relatively young sport in Greece and has only been around for the last ten years. The path that me and my team have made to the UFC wasn’t available before. We’ve had to travel a lot to find a way to get to the UFC and the time and cost of this is an insurmountable hurdle for most Greeks.
“Now that we’ve made it, I think that this will encourage and open the doors to many more Greek fighters to join the UFC.”