TUF 27’s Suman Mokhtarian: “This Show Has A Way Of Turning Itself On Its Head And It Really Did”
Suman Mokhtarian has risen to prominence in the world of Australian mixed martial arts over the past few years.
But he became an international sensation last summer when he pulled off the first-ever teepee choke in MMA history at Hex Fight Series 9 against Magana Kiewon. After garnering headlines on major websites and netting millions of views online, he did himself one better at Hex 10 a month later.
In the first round, Mokhtarian took the fight to the ground and wrapped up Sam Chan in a twister, a submission made famous by 10th Planet creator Eddie Bravo.
The 25-year-old announced his retirement fight shortly thereafter and predicted another rare technique.
At a regional show in Sydney, Mokhtarian took on late-replacement Sunun Sangpet and snatched up a baseball bat choke to end his career unblemished.
However, the story does not end there for the submission artist.
Wanting to bring more attention to his country, he traveled over to Las Vegas last December for The Ultimate Fighter 27 tryouts. The Australian Top Team head honcho breezed through the audition process and was selected alongside 15 other combatants for the chance of a lifetime.
He went into the house of egos and shenanigans coached by UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic and UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier.
Now, he is back from filming the show and loving life as a free man.
John Hyon Ko caught up with Suman Mokhtarian to talk about Season 27 of The Ultimate Fighter, rumors about his leg injury, the talent at Hex Fight Series 13, the contestants on the show and more.
Notable excerpts from the interview:
John Hyon Ko: Can I call you a UFC featherweight?
Suman Mokhtarian: “Nah, not yet. I don’t think anyone on The Ultimate Fighter is a UFC fighter yet, even though we wear the gloves. There are a few people that are UFC fighters. But I wouldn’t say until you had your first UFC fight you are a UFC fighter yet. I don’t want to put that on myself.”
John Hyon Ko: I think that makes it more fun. To have people spread rumors about you even the one they are saying [the leg injury] is fake like you’re not even hurt.
Suman Mokhtarian: “That’s actually been my favorite one. I like the, someone said that I got bitten by a shark but they don’t realize I don’t know how to swim so that wasn’t possible. I wouldn’t find me in the ocean.”
John Hyon Ko: Korean Top Team brought over five fighters, what was your assessment of the talent they brought over?
Suman Mokhtarian:”Man, I been saying it since I first fought at REBEL FC four years ago. I would say Korean MMA is extremely underrated. I think Korean Top Team is one of the top gyms in the world. The fighters they produce are well-rounded grapplers, well-rounded strikers, and they are really tough and always durable.”
John Hyon Ko: What is the first thing that comes to your mind about Suman Mokhtarian during the TUF 27?
Suman Mokhtarian: “Just me being myself. I did my best coming into that situation. Where some people would obviously doubt me and some people would really back me, I think I’ve been quite lucky to get to where I’ve gotten. Some people would be happy about that and some people wouldn’t. But you guys will see a part of me on the show, you guys will see what I’m like, you guys can make your opinion up after the show.”