One of the biggest European fights at lightweight goes down on Saturday night when Norman Parke (23-5-1) takes on the reigning and defending champ Mateusz Gamrot (12-0) at KSW 39, aka KSW Colosseum, in front of around 60,000 fans at the national stadium in Warsaw, Poland.
26-year-old Gamrot has been nothing short of impressive since turning pro in 2012. Wins over the likes of UFC vet Andre Winner, the previously undefeated Marif Piraev, and top French prospect Mansour Barnaoui have made him one of the top fighters in Europe.
Many people will see Parke as the toughest opponent to date for Gamrot. However, he is not convinced.
“I will answer after the fight if Parke was the biggest challenge in my career,” said Gamrot. “For now, I think I fought with much better fighters than him.”
The Northern Irishman garnered a reputation of being one of the toughest fighters in the UFC’s lightweight division. A couple of suspect decision losses and he was given his shock release from the promotion. During his time there he scored wins over the likes of Reza Madadi, Jon Tuck and Kazuki Tokedome and, of course, won TUF: The Smashes. But Gamrot is not impressed with Parke’s run and says he is strongest outside the cage hyping the fight.
“I’ve always been interested in the UFC lightweight category,” Gamrot said. “There are many good fighters there but Parke never was one of them though. Norman has always been in the group of “easy fights”. His rivals have fought with him before facing serious opponents.
“Norman does not impress me as a fighter. As a person, he seems to be quite friendly, although he talks to much and he is trying to hype the atmosphere before the fight. I think this is his strongest side and in the cage will be completely different. He thinks that he is a strong grappler, but I am not impressed by his skills on the ground, or his takedowns and single legs. He has some skills in every aspect of the game, but he can not compare with me in any of them.”
There has been a bit of a back and forth between the two fighters with Parke saying Gamrot is over-hyped and has been matched against more favourable opponents. But Gamrot has just a simple response to that.
“Parke can say what he wants. In my opinion, I have always faced very tough opponents and it looked so easy for me to beat them because I was prepared perfectly. My fight with Norman will be the same.”
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