ONE signs ex-Greco-Roman champ Aliakbari


For the second straight week, ONE Championship has fortified its heavyweight division.

The Asian MMA promotion signed former Greco-Roman wrestling world champion Amir Aliakbari to a contract Monday, Aliakbari’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, told ESPN. The plan is for Aliakbari to debut in ONE at the end of October, Abdelaziz said.

Aliakbari (10-1) has won five in a row, with his lone career loss coming to MMA legend Mirko Cro Cop. He is considered a difference-maker in the heavyweight division.

Last week, ONE signed 13-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida to his first MMA contract.

Aliakbari has finished seven of his 10 victories by TKO. The 32-year-old signed with the UFC last year, but he withdrew from the promotion because of a doping ban handed down by the international amateur wrestling governing body, as well as sanctions on his native Iran from the United States.

“My name is Amir Aliakbari,” Aliakbari said in a statement provided to ESPN. “This is the real Iron Sheik, the pride of Iran. USA have one guy named Iron Sheik but he’s a fake — fake wrestler. I’m glad to sign with ONE Championship, I’m going to invade their heavyweight division, and fight [champion] Brandon Vera. When I’m finished with him they’re not going to recognize him because I will disfigure his face. I believe I’m the best heavyweight in the world today. I’m unstoppable. I’m coming to ONE Championship and I’m bringing the entire Persian army with me — no one is safe.”

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