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Eight months later, he submitted another Brazilian stalwart, Michel Prazeres, in the second round, and earlier this year, Rakhmonov pushed his record to 15-0 with his most impressive victory to date — a first-round spinning hook kick knockout of Carlston Harris that elevated him into the Top 15.

“Three wins in UFC — I’m pretty happy about that because it’s a result of my hard work in training outside the Octagon,” said the surging welterweight, who squares off with Top 10 fixture Neil Magny in the co-main event of this weekend’s fight card at the UFC APEX. “I believe I belong among the top of the UFC welterweight division, and with God willing, I will prove that.”

Because he’s made it look so easy, because he’s yet to face any moments of peril, let alone deal with a setback inside the UFC cage, it’s easy to blow past the fact that what Rakhmonov is doing is atypical.

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Plenty of athletes reach the UFC with undefeated records and having experienced great success in different promotions around the globe. Many claimed championship gold and posted impressive results, but parlaying that into continued success inside the Octagon is a difficult task, and many often stumble while trying to find their footing.

It can be even more difficult when you’re thrust into the thick of a talent-rich weight class, paired off with seasoned competitors that have already passed certain tests and established their positions within the divisional hierarchy. Add in lofty expectations and immediate attention and you have a potential pressure cooker situation that has gotten the better of a great number of new arrivals.

Which is why seeing someone like Rakhmonov come in, blow through his first three appearances with poise and precisions, and quickly set his sights on someone further up the rankings has been such an impressive sight to behold.

It’s also what makes the fact that the surging “Nomad” feels like he has plenty more to improve upon and show a scary proposition for everyone else in the 170-pound weight class going forward, beginning with Magny this weekend.


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