Ikram Aliskerov details hectic week and why he accepted UFC on ABC 6 vs. Robert Whittaker

Ikram Aliskerov admits the past week has been “messy” and unideal, but that’s something he accepted long ago when he decided to become a professional fighter.

As he completed his UFC on ESPN 58 weight cut this past Thursday, Aliskerov (15-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) was offered a headliner vs. Robert Whittaker (25-7 MMA, 16-5 UFC) for this upcoming Saturday’s UFC on ABC 6 card in Saudi Arabia.

“I was done cutting weight and I was done drinking water at that point,” Aliskerov told MMA Junkie on Wednesday. “All I had left was about four to five kilograms to go and so I was pretty much on weight at that point and then they told me, ‘You’re fighting, for sure.’ So then I had to hold that weight for the next couple days, travel here, and now I have to restart again water-loading and then getting the water out. It’s so, so long. All I can think about is not as much the fight, but just being able to eat finally.”

Aliskerov took a brief moment to discuss over the offer with his couches and came to the assessment the pros outweighed the cons. He called his manager Ali Abdelaziz back and accepted the fight.

“This is what we do,” Aliskerov said. “We’re fighters. This is our sport. This is our life. I even put it on my Instagram, ‘Anyone, anywhere, at any time.’ It’s the type of motto I live by and you have to live by it if you want to fight on the top level. I was ready for this. I don’t care if it was five rounds or 10 rounds, you have to be ready for anything being thrown your way and that’s what I live by.”

While the task is tall, Aliskerov thinks he’s up for it. Although he’s only two fights into his UFC career, Aliskerov has faith in his abilities and thinks this matchmaking reflects the promotion feels the same way.

“I consider myself to be a tougher matchup because I am a top 10 fighter,” Aliskerov said. “I deserve to be at least in the top 10. The way I was speaking to Ali, my manager, is the way it sounded is the UFC kind of expected me to have this fight. They think I’m ready, that I’m that level of an opponent that I should be accepting this fight. I think that’s great. It makes me think that the UFC values me. They know what I’m worth. They know what I’m capable of, so I think it’s right that I’m a tougher matchup.”

The void Aliskerov filled opposite Whittaker was a result of Khamzat Chimaev’s withdrawal due to illness. Chimaev vs. Whittaker was viewed by some as a title eliminator bout. While Aliskerov doesn’t know if that perception maintains, he forecasts a win will be a massive step forward regardless.

“The goal for me is also the belt,” Aliskerov said. “I know if this fight was Khamzat it would’ve been a title eliminator fight. However, with me, my goal still remains the same. My goal is still the title. I don’t know if there’s a win if they’ll offer me the title shot next. But the point is I’m going to do whatever I can and whatever I need to do to get to that goal.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ABC 6.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie