Dan Vinni came in as a big unknown. He was an underdog against Daniel Skvor, only to be wiped out in the first round with an injury and preparation affected by a broken ankle. Had he lost, he probably would have retired, but now he’s hungry. In an interview with Ruik, he admitted that he wanted the title. He even asked to be the understudy in the interim title fight.
First fight in the Octagon, first win and a first round stoppage. How do you feel after the fight with Daniel Skvor?
I feel great. I’ve been through a lot in preparation for this fight, so I’m really happy.
How satisfied are you with your performance? In hindsight, would you have done anything differently despite your success?
I’m not satisfied. I’m pleased to have delivered the fastest submission in the history of the Octagon’s welterweight division, but I hope that next time I’ll show myself in a better light and that I’ll get through the training camp without any injuries.
How do you feel about the Octagon now? In the interview before the tournament, you made no secret of the fact that you’ve been trying to get here for a while. Did it live up to your expectations? Or did it exceed it?
It’s excellent. I’ve fought across big organizations around the world, I’ve been in other big organizations with other fighters that I haven’t fought in, and there’s nothing like the Oktagon. From the fights, to the production, to the fans. I really think it’s one of the best shows in the world.
How do you rate the tournament overall? Whether it’s the organization, the atmosphere… Have you seen any other matches?
It was great. There were some really fantastic matches. I just wish I had gotten a bonus (laughs).
André Reinders, Daniel Skvor’s trainer, said that you admitted to him after the fight that you were relieved that your challenge to fight only in boxing was not accepted. Is that true?
I guess I’ll have to keep this a secret.
In retrospect, how do you view Shkvor as an opponent? Did he surprise you in any way?
I studied him a lot, I knew a lot about him and his fighting style. I hope we can train together in the future. I believe he can be an extremely dangerous fighter if he has the right tactics.
You reportedly wanted to end your career if you lost. Why? In an interview before the tournament you mentioned that you plan to have more fights in the Octagon. What are your plans now?
That’s true. I’ve been in the game for a very long time and I was getting a little disillusioned with where MMA is at the moment. But seeing how the Octagon is doing things, I have to reevaluate my plans and goals. My dream is to win one more title before I retire. So I’m still looking at the Octagon belt.
Could you elaborate on how you think you’re disillusioned with where MMA is?
I think it has a lot to do with how fighters are treated. Because a lot of organizations don’t respect them enough, whether it’s the financial aspect or the overall care for them in general. I feel that Octagon is trying to build individual stars through proper promotion, which is good for both the fighters and the organization itself.
You injured your ankle during the fight, which you broke a few weeks before the tournament. How serious is your injury and how much did it affect your performance and actually your fighting style?
Yes, unfortunately I broke my ankle at the beginning of my preparation, but I knew I couldn’t back out of the fight. Of course it affected my whole preparation for the fight. That was also the reason why I asked for a fight with only boxing, so that Shkvor wouldn’t kick me in the leg.
But during the fight he hit me several times in that ankle and it popped out several times. Fortunately, it held up and now it’s not so bad. I should be able to train again in a week or two.
At what stage of the match did you injure your ankle? Was your falling to the ground due to that injury or was it a tactical plan or an improvisation within the fight?
When my ankle popped, I realized I couldn’t stand on it anymore. I knew I had to take the fight to the ground. I believe I’m one of the best grapplers in MMA across the board, so I know I can fight anyone here. Fortunately, I was able to do that.
There were a few other welterweight fights in Liberec besides your fight. Were you interested in any of them? Do you have a particular name in your head with whom you would like to fight next?
Apart from Karlos Vemola, who is everyone’s money fight, I would like to be the understudy for the upcoming interim title fight (ed. note – Pavol Langer and Alexander Poppeck will fight for it on June 17 in Oberhausen). I believe if I have enough time to recover from injury and train, I can finish either of those guys.
Do you plan to feature in the Manchester tournament in the autumn?
Obviously I’m from England, so I’ll always be ready to fight in front of my British friends and family, but I live in the Czech Republic so I’m more interested in fighting here and building a good reputation here to ask for big fights. And of course in Germany if a replacement is needed.
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