Louis Smolka will make his return to the Octagon at Saturday’s UFC Beijing, and it will be a historical moment for the man standing across the cage from him.
Su Mudaerji, relatively an unknown fighter even for a hardcore MMA fan, became the first Tibetan athlete to sign a deal with the promotion. In fact, he was so unknown that even UFC.com had his name is incorrectly listed as “Sumudaerji Sumudaerji” until days before the event.
”My name is Su Mudaerji, I’m sure you’ve never heard a name like that before [laughs],” Mudaerji told MMA Fighting through a translator, “but it’s a name from the Aba region in Sichuan. My nickname is the Tibetian Eagle.”
His official record stands at 8-1 on Sherdog and Tapology has him at 11-3, but “it is 12-3, unfortunately sometimes Chinese MMA results are not updated on Sherdog and Tapology accordingly.”
Even if we got everything wrong about him up until this point, he plans on making sure no one forgets his name after Saturday.
“I’m a finisher,” Mudaerji said. “I don’t like dragging fights to decisions, but people will find out my style very soon at UFC Beijing. I hope to see people there.”
”I’m fighting on home soil, so (I will win by) TKO or submission,” he continued. “I don’t fight just to get the win, but I fight to put on a show. So I always go out looking to capture the moment under the Octagon lights. Also partly because I want Dana White to give me the finishing bonus [laughs].”
Mudaerji competed most of his career at flyweight, but enters the promotion right after it was decided to get rid of the division in 2019. Even though he thinks he was “big and tall” for flyweight, a weight class that was “perfect” for him, “The Tibetan Eagle” promises to “rise to the occasion” at 135 pounds.
”Smolka is a good fighter and he is in the UFC simply because he is a world-class athlete,” Mudaerji said. “I have to respect his credentials. I’m not going to give any McGregor-kind of predictions, but I’m confident in myself and my coaches Magomed Gadzhiev, Ali Magomedkhanov and Anvar Alizhanov have prepared me well, so I am confident in my victory.”
Mudaerji and Smolka will battle in the preliminary portion of the event in Beijing, but the debutant fighter says that this match-up is historical for those who surround him in Aba, Sichuan.
“It’s a moment of pride for the people of Tibet,” Mudaerji said. “Mr. Enbo and my coaches have helped me so much. I’m the first ethnically Tibetan fighter in the UFC and I hope there will be more to come.”
Mr. Enbo is the founder of Enbo Fight Club, a non-profit mixed martial arts gym in China that trains poor, orphan kids in China. He was featured in a short VICE documentary in November of 2017, which Mudaerji refers as “my life in a 20-minute clip.”
“All of the Tibetians from the region watch my fights and support me,” said Mudaerji, who still trains out of the Enbo Fight Club. “My cause is that I want to bring honour for my people, team and the country! I’m thankful to Mr. Enbo, Jalil Alizhanov, MTK and most importantly the UFC for this opportunity. I will make everyone proud!”