Name: Ilia Topuria
Date of Birth: January 21, 1997 (age 27)
Weight: 145 lbs (66 kg)
Height: 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Reach: 69 in (175 cm)
Fighting out of: Climent Club, Alicante, Spain
Next Fight: Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 298 for the undisputed Featherweight title.
Topuria was born in Halle Westfalen, Germany, to Georgian parents. At 7, he moved to Georgia with his family and started practicing Greco-Roman Wrestling at school. At 15, he moved to Alicante in Spain, where he started practicing martial arts at the Climent Club. In 2015, he made his debut as a professional MMA fighter.
Topuria's confidence as a fighter is something else; he has a documentary being made that he plans to release when he wins the Featherweight title. Topuria also edited his Instagram bio, saying he is 15-0 and the UFC Featherweight champion.
Topuria made his professional MMA debut on April 4, 2015, facing Francisco Javier Asprilla in Valencia, Spain. Topuria scored an impressive first-round triangle choke submission to enter the unbeaten ranks. Topuria would have 3 more fights in Spain and win every fight by submission, with only 1 fight entering the second round, culminating in a Mix Fight Events Featherweight title.
Topuria went on to have one more fight outside of a well-known promotion, where he faced Mika Hamalainen at CAGE 43 in Finland for his Bantamweight debut. Topuria won the fight by first-round submission.
Topuria, now 5-0 with all finishes, was offered a shot at the Cage Warriors Bantamweight title in April 2018; he took on Brian Bouland and won the fight by anaconda choke submission, leaving his opponent unconscious in the first round. However, Topuria missed weight and wasn't eligible to win the title.
Topuria's next 2 fights saw him enter Brave CF, where he returned to Featherweight. Topuria's first fight in the promotion was against Luis Gomez, where he scored his 7th submission in a row. Topuria's final fight outside the UFC would see him earn a knockout for the first time when he faced Stephen Goncalves at Brave CF 29.
With a record of 8-0 with all finishes, 7 in the first round, a call from Dana White and the matchmakers was inevitable.
Topuria entered the UFC on short notice when he faced Youssef Zalal at UFC Fight Night: Moraes vs. Sandhagen in Abu Dhabi. Topuria fought perfectly and ended Zalal's win streak when he unanimously beat him on the judges' scorecards.
Topuria proved he belongs in the big leagues with an impressive victory over a 3-0 UFC prospect on short notice.
Topuria followed up his debut with the biggest win of his career when he knocked out Damon Jackson in the first round at UFC on ESPN: Hermansson vs. Vettori. This fight put Topuria on the radar of all Featherweights and showed that he is not only a submission threat but also a knockout artist.
Topuria would return with 2 big knockouts over submission ace Ryan Hall and UK standout Jai Herbert. Topuria managed the danger exceptionally well against Hall and rallied for a comeback victory after eating a clean head kick from Herbert. The victory over Herbert would earn Topuria his first performance bonus.
Topuria's following fight was against Bryce Mitchell. After some bad blood between the 2, Topuria had the last laugh when he submitted Mitchell with an arm-triangle choke in the second round, ending Mitchell's undefeated record in the process. This fight would earn Topuria his second performance bonus and put him in the sights of the champion, Alexander Volkanovski.
Topuria's final fight saw him defeat top-ranked contender Josh Emmett in a back-and-forth Fight of the Night battle to be next in line for the title. Topuria won the fight unanimously and finally earned his shot at UFC gold.
Catch Ilia Topuria in his next fight against Alexander Volkanovski for UFC gold at UFC 298: Volkanovski vs. Topuria in Anaheim, California.