Igor Makogon: “I‘m the European champion in the ring but in the real life I’m a simple schoolboy”
Igor Makogon is a 14-year-old sportsman from Odessa (Ukraine) who has managed to become a three-time MMA Ukrainian Champion at such a young age. Makogon won the Ukrainian No-Gi BJJ title and the National Sambo Championship. The gifted athlete has become the Odessa prize winner of the “Public`s choice” – the” Person of the Year”. Also, Igor received prize category the” Future of Odessa” in 2018.
Despite your champion`s title, you go to school like other teenagers, prepare your homework and do tests. How do you double-job?
The top class sport is great but person must develop fully and have a good store of knowledge. Thus the education shouldn’t be neglected. I’m the European champion in the ring but in the real life, I am a simple schoolboy. First of all, sportsman must be modest.
What do you stand out in your mind after your victory at European Championship?
The championship took place on 12 performance areas. And they all worked simultaneously. I had two fights during one day.
Can you brag about a win by technical superiority?
Each fight in my age group could last no longer than 4 minutes. And I had won both of them by technical superiority. The first fight I won within one minute and during the second one I succeeded a little over than 20 seconds. I used submission hold during both fights.
What did you feel when you receive belt of European champion?
There were a lot of emotions. It took a little while to figure it out. And I still can`t realize that this has actually happened.
Why did you decide to go into martial arts?
Frankly speaking, when I was small boy kids had started to tease me due to my small height. And of course, I didn’t like it. My uncle had heard about this and advised to enroll for a combat sport. I followed his advice. And I have been visiting sport gym for 8 years in a row.
Did you have a cult-hero who influenced you in a good way?
Before now, I did it for my own pleasure, I just enjoyed it. But after three years of trainings I became very serious about this sport. At that time, my idol was the MMA fighter and the UFC champion Conor MacGregor. He was the person who inspired me to new achievements and victories.
What else have you got for motivation?
I want to become a famous fighter and glorify this sport in my country – Ukraine. This is what motivates me most of all.
What do you think is more important: physical training, ability to memorize techniques or some kind of philosophy in the fight?
All of these factors must be considered. The athlete must be well prepared physically and technically at the same time. The right emotion state is very important as well. Anyone can believe in you but first of all, you must believe in yourself.
How do you usually prepare for competitions?
All my workouts are different but all of them are rather intensive. It’s never the case when one workout is lazy and later you have intensive class. Our coach says that today we should be better than yesterday. And I totally agree with him.
What do you think is missing for the development of this sport in our country? Including athletes of your age and younger.
I believe there is a lack of motivation for many young sportsmen. In my opinion, it’s easier for some parents to buy a toy for their children than to send them to specialized sports club and raise their son or daughter as a champion. Parents sometimes are just lazy for this. It’s clear that there is no funding from the government and it’s quite difficult. There are many things which you must buy at own expense including training camp paying.
Nevertheless, do you have big sport plans for the future?
Of course, soon I will again start my preparation for the Ukrainian MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu championships which take place every year. And I’m not going to close my book on this. I will strive to move on.