After weeks of speculation over the future of kickboxing legend Gokhan Saki, the UFC has today confirmed the signing of “The Rebel” to a multi-fight deal.
The news was officially announced by the promotion on Thursday morning.
Saki (0-1), 33, will make his debut in the light-heavyweight division and is expected to feature on the UFC Rotterdam card on Sept. 2. Saki was born in the city of Schiedam, which is located west of Rotterdam. His opponent has yet to be named.
— Gokhan Saki (@gokhantherebel) May 25, 2017
Reports of Saki’s signing with the UFC intensified on May 10, after close source Ali Mokdad took to social media service Twitter to claim that the “Turkish Tyson” had signed to the WME-IMG owned organisation. However, this Tweet was soon deleted.
Following this, MMA-Today’s Izi Garcia reported that he had confirmed the news with multiple sources. Despite these claims, Saki did, in fact, deny the news to Dutch reporter Giovanni Tjin just three days ago.
With a record of 83-12, 1 NC, Saki is most known for his time in K-1, It’s Showtime and GLORY Kickboxing. Saki won the GLORY light-heavyweight championship in 2014, defeating Tyrone Spong; due to a leg fracture, but never went on to defend.
At last weekend’s GLORY 41 event in Den Bosch, GLORY’s Head of Talent Operations Cor Hemmers confirmed that Saki had retired from kickboxing in order to pursue interests in MMA.
Prior to his signing with UFC, GLORY CEO Jon Franklin told MMA Plus*: “We have had him under contract for two years. We have made numerous offers for him to fight. At this point we have released him to pursue other opportunities. However if he will be kickboxing it will be for GLORY.”
The Dutch-Turkish fighter made his MMA debut in 2004, where he lost to UFC vet James Zikic. In 2013, he moved his full-time training to Dubai, under coach Tam Khan.
*Editor’s Note: Jon Franklin quote contributed by Michael Stets.