PFL kicks off their regular season on March 25h in Newcastle, and is stacked with some of the most explosive talent to make their trip across the Atlantic one the fans will not soon forget.
Many UK talents will be showcasing their prolific arsenal’s that night, one warrior in particular will be returning to the cage in Diesel Gym and 10th Planet London’s Salih Kulucan.
I took a trip down to London’s East End to grab a chat with Salih to find out what this amazing opportunity means to him, as well as gain some insight into his long awaited return to the cage.
Salih ‘Mr. Kool’ Kulucan (6-7-0) is an English professional Mixed Martial Artist currently competing in the Bantamweight division, representing Diesel Gym and 10th Planet London. Salih has competed for the United Kingdom regional’s, Cage Rage, UCMMA, Ultimate Warrior Challenge UK, Superior Challenge, Shock n’ Awe, Warrior Fight Series, Bellator MMA, Cage Warriors, Celtic Gladiator and will make his debut for the PFL on March 25th.
I’d like to kick things off by thanking you for inviting me here to speak with you today Salih, and also to congratulate you on your explosive return to the cage at the PFL Europe card.
Image by AvK Creatiff
“Thank you mate, yeah I’m looking forward to it and I’m glad to have you here to talk about.”
My pleasure man.
how does it feel to not only return to action, but to make it in such a fashion as entering the PFL cage?
“Yeah man, it feels amazing. I was looking to make my return on a regional card a couple of weeks earlier, but this opportunity came through. My coach said to me you gotta take it Sal, it’s a big opportunity. I’ve fought on so many big promotions for high stakes. High stakes, that’s what I’m about.”
I completely get why you couldn’t let this opportunity slip away pal, one not many could in your position.
I hope preparations have been going well in the build-up to quite possibly one of the biggest moments of your career on March 25th?
“Yeah, I’ve taken a bit of a back-step from coaching, I’m still doing a little though. I’m normally PT’ing and stuff as well but I’m training full time now, 3 sessions a day, just putting the work in.”
Image by AvK Creatiff
What a return though, a grand entrance back.
It’s been just short of 3 years since we last witnessed you in the cage back in 2019. No doubt the hunger to get back out there has been brewing for some time now, what prompted your desire to get back to the lion’s den?
“I just saw how far the team was progressing. We started getting a lot of competitors coming through and started getting a few guys in from the pro scene. Everyone’s doing really well here and the gym is growing and it gave me a bit of fire you know. It made me wanna get back out there and I know what I’m capable of, I know I’m ready for it again.”
Image by AvK Creatiff
For the readers, could you elaborate on what you’ve been up to since your last appearance back in 2019?
“I picked up quite a nasty injury in my last fight, and I was out for a long time. In the time away I’ve just been chilling, getting my love back for the sport, as I lost some love for it after the injury. Since then it’s just gone from strength to strength, I’ve got over some personal issues. I told myself if I’m not 100 percent I’m not doing this again, I feel good now, my life is going in a great direction so I thought why not. I’m young and I’m entering my prime years now so I wanna make the most of it and I’ve got another couple of runs in me.”
If your heart’s not in it, it’s always best to take a step back to evaluate some things man, I’m glad you’ve cleared the path.
We are now just over a month out from the violent festivities that will engulf what’s set to be a sold out Vertu Motors Arena in Newcastle. One step on your 2 fight deal with the PFL see’s you take on Manchester Top Team’s Lewis McGrillen.
Undefeated in all of his 6 professional fights, PFL are really looking to make a statement kicking off their new European league with this barn burner.
What do you make of Lewis in the build-up to your scheduled collision on March 25th?
“I’ve seen quite a bit of Lewis. He’s young, he’s hungry, he’s unbeaten and I respect him as a fighter. Fighting on PFL you’re not gonna get an easy fight, so I’m putting the work in to make sure I can come away with the victory. I’m sure Lewis is as well, I’m sure it’s gonna be a great fight.”
100 percent mate, what a fight to announce.
Including yourself, some of Europe’s most elite fighters will battle it out for 100k pot and kick start the PFL‘s venture on English soil.
Are there any confirmed fighter’s or bouts in particular that you’re looking forward to witnessing?
“I’m looking forward to seeing my old teammate Dominique Wooding’s fight, we sort of grew up together. I’ve seen him come through, so I’m looking forward to seeing him out there.”
I was hoping to see Dominique return, who’d of thought it would have been with the PFL.
“Yeah, it’s a big opportunity man.”
It’s been a pleasure speaking with you today Salih, I wish you all the best for the remainder of your camp and for your return to action mate.
“Thank you very much mate, really good to meet you again, I’m looking forward to the night.”
Last but not least, do you have a message for the fans that will be in attendance and anybody you’d like to give a shout-out to?
“I hope you all have a good night and enjoy the fight, hopefully we put on a great fight for you all. I wanna shout my team out, Diesel Gym and 10th Planet London, all my teammates helping me prepare for it and my little daughter Amelia.”
Grab your tickets now, this is gonna be a night of pure unadulterated organised violence you’ll not want to miss.
Feature Image by AvK Creatiff