Isa Dalipaj by no means dreamed of being knowledgeable fighter, however because of a bit of inspiration from former CFFC light-weight champ Zulkarnaiyn Kamchybekov, he’s now a extremely touted featherweight prospect – and one which’s not taken with taking any shortcuts to the highest.
“When I moved to the U.S. in 2014, I went and did a high school season for wrestling,” Dalipaj stated. “That’s how I began. I used to play soccer in my nation, however I by no means educated for any form of fight sports activities down there, and the wrestling in highschool right here was free of charge. So my senior yr, I joined it, and that’s how I began.
“From there, my teammate nowadays Zulkarnaiyn Kamchybekov, he used to come there at the high school to train with us for wrestling. After I graduated, I didn’t have any place to train because the only place was the high school for wrestling, and then I see a picture that Zulk posted of him training somewhere, which was EEFC, now known as Marquez MMA, and I just went down there to try it out.”
An Albanian transplant, Dalipaj fell in love with MMA. He took his first newbie battle in 2018, ultimately turning professional in late 2020, placing his pursuit of a profession in dentistry on maintain to chase after his new ardour. Now 26, Dalipaj works as a plumber to assist pay the payments as he seems to be to make his method to MMA’s largest organizations.
“One of the reasons that I stopped school was because if I wasn’t dedicating 100 percent into MMA, then I know that when I was going to hit my thirties or later in my life, I would’ve been thinking, ‘What if I continued the training? Where I would have been?’” Dalipaj stated. “So that’s why I simply stopped faculty, and I attempted to provide some extra time to preventing.
“I mean, I would wish to dedicate 100 percent of my time to it, but at this moment, I’m just trying to keep up with my bills and everything else. That’s why I’m still working and doing MMA. But down the line, I’m hoping that I’ll make, like, 90 percent of my time getting into martial arts and then go to the highest levels.”
As excited as Dalipaj is to make it to the UFC, he insists he’s not making an attempt to skip any steps alongside the best way. After successful all of his first three professional fights by knockout, he is aware of his potential is excessive, however he additionally believes expertise is vital to lasting success.
“My goal is that when I get a big shot, like if I get my chance to go to the UFC or a bigger show than CFFC, then I want to be ready for it,” Dalipaj stated. “I don’t want to go there and not perform the way I want to perform. You know, I’m still learning and I’m pretty fresh in the cage, experience-wise. But yeah, the plan is to have a couple more fights and feel more comfortable in the cage and get me ready to go to the bigger shows later on.”
Dalipaj (3-0) will look to enhance on that undefeated report when he takes on latest featherweight title challenger Jose Perez (4-1) at Saturday’s CFFC 102, which streams reside on UFC Fight Pass from Philadelphia’s 2300 Arena as a part of a dual-event weekend for Cage Fury Fighting Championships, which additionally hosts FURY Professional Grappling 2 on Friday.
Each athlete is competing for the fourth time as a professional beneath the CFFC banner, so Dalipaj is accustomed to his foe, however he says he tries to not spend an excessive amount of time specializing in an opponent’s strengths.
“Everybody is good, but at the end of the day, it’s a fight,” Dalipaj stated. “I don’t get too caught up in looking at tape because in a fight, you don’t really know. You might expect somebody to do a certain thing, and if they switch up their whole game, your whole plan is screwed, so I’m just going in there to fight. Whatever he brings, I’m trying to have an answer for it.”
With simply 14 months as a professional, Dalipaj is already drawing some consideration and seems to have a skillset that may take him far within the sport. But the standard prospect insists added time will solely permit him to enhance extra, and he plans on being fully ready when he will get the decision to MMA’s greatest stage.
“I’m not looking to rush anything,” Dalipaj stated. “I want everything to come at the right time. I know after you go to the bigger shows, you’re only matching up with guys that have a lot more experience than what I have, so that’s one thing that I’m looking forward to: getting more experience and being ready for the more seasoned guys.”
(This story first revealed at CFFC.television)