David Zawada to face OKTAGON MMA foe: “I know Hojat”

By Zain Bando - February 9, 2024

David Zawada (18-9 MMA, 1-0 OKTAGON MMA) returns to the OKTAGON MMA cage for the second time to secure his first victory since June 2022 when he faces No. 5 ranked middleweight Hojat Khajevand (7-3 MMA) on Saturday afternoon (stateside) in Germany.

David Zawada

Zawada is a long-time combat sports veteran, having competed in PFL and the UFC.

Currently undergoing a two-fight losing skid, including a first-round TKO loss to 2023 PFL welterweight champion Magomed Magomedkerimov, Zawada has set his sights on a reset to keep his MMA career on an upward trajectory.

Zawada spoke to BJPenn.com’s Zain Bando ahead of his fight, where he touched on his relationship with Khajevand, future career aspirations, a prediction for the fight, and much more.

*Answers have been edited for clarity.

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ZB: What made you switch to OKTAGON compared to staying in the PFL, especially given their new era?

David Zawada: I didn’t achieve my goal of being the champion in PFL, and it is a little bit hard for a European not living in the U.S. to get the same results. Unfortunately, they also released me, I think, because I couldn’t perform well in the two fights, so I am okay with this decision. For me, OKTAGON is the most popular organization right now in Europe, and once again, all over the world; they grow fast and do awesome shows, so I knew if I were back in Europe, this would be my next target to compare.

ZB:  What can you tell me about your opponent Hojat? This is a major step up in competition for you, so I’m curious how he differs from your previous opponents.

David Zawada: I know Hojat. We once also trained together. He is a strong wrestler and grappler and is not too bad in his striking game. He didn’t have as much experience as my opponents before, but I moved a division up to 185 pounds now, and I think he may have the physical advantage. But I am very confident about this fight. I have seen everything in this sport and could prepare well for this type of fighter. So let’s go. I am ready to bring a show and the win streak back.

ZB: With a victory, who would you like to face next?

David Zawada:  I don’t know if this [fight] should plan the organization’s [next steps]. It also depends on how I finish the fight. I want to make a statement. Hojat is top-five in the middleweight division, so I am looking for the top guys or to be the next contender for the belt.

ZB:  What are your long-term goals in MMA?

David Zawada: I am now trying to become the OKTAGON champion and stay there as long as I can. OKTAGON does an amazing job, so I would like to stay here.

ZB: Do you have any pre-fight rituals?

David Zawada: Not really; I like just to come in, get wrapped, stay focused, make my warm-up, and go out there to perform.

ZB: Any last-minute predictions?
David Zawada: If everything goes well, like in my visuals, I see the fight come to an end in Round 2 with a top victory of mine.
Will David Zawada snap his losing streak on Saturday?