We sat down with Miran "Rocky" Fabjan, a fighter in the underappreciated weight range around 80kg. Miran is nipping at the heels of breaking into the Top 10 at Light Heavyweight. For the better part of his career, Miran has fought in Slovenia for WFC, where he's made a name for himself. He's looking to make a name for himself internationally in 2012, as he enters the 2012 Tatneft Cup, which features some of the best Light Heavyweight fighters in the world. We talked to Miran about a plethora of subjects, including his background as a fighter and the popularity of kickboxing.
Liverkick: To the people who don't know you, introduce yourself and tell us about your fighting background.
Miran: I am Miran Fabjan. I am a 26 year old fighter from Slovenia. I started training Muay Thai at Yaksha Combat Team at 19 years old. After one year I moved - The first event I had seen was (Giorgio) Petrosyan vs. Tavelek. And I was so impressed with Petrosyan and I watched him everywhere he fought. And he trains like 30 minutes away from my house and after one year of training at Yaksha I spent three years training with Petrosyan with Alfio Romanut. I did like 9 fights after for that gym and then I moved back to Yaksha Combat Team where I startedto train again with my first trainer. But I keep a very good relationship with Petrosyan. Now I started to do professional fights and I hope it will continue this way.
Liverkick: So you've fought a lot for the Slovenian promotion WFC.
Miran: Yeah, like 9 fights.
Liverkick: How has your time been in WFC? Has it made you popular in Slovenia?
Miran: First it was a tournament. WFC organized a tournament and I was like no one. I was like one of the weakest parts of the tournament and in the first fight I fought the third favorite, Sandi Borojevic. I won against Sandi and then in the semi-final I also fought a good fighter, Matej Bregar. I also won against Matej Bregar. And then it's funny because the story of the final, I did two full fights. In the final I became the best Slovenian fighter against Rozle Jazbinšek, took only 45 seconds. First fight and second fight, he just passed. He passed without fighting so I had like 6 rounds and he had nothing. (Jazbinsek won in under a minute in his first fight, then didn't fight a second fight because his opponent was injured, so he automatically went to the final.) After three rounds the judges called an extra round in which I KO'd him like 30 seconds before the end with a right hook. After this tournament it was very very media you know, media really covered this tournament and after this tournament I became well known in Slovenia. So I was main event for the next three times. All the next three times I won by KO. Then they brought in (Alexander) Stetsurenko who KO'd me. So yeah, I did a lot of fights with WFC and I'm very very happy to represent this Slovenian organization in Europe and in Slovenia.
Liverkick: So besides Alexander Stetsurenko, you've also fought another top opponent, Sem Braan in Holland, tell us about that.
Miran: Sem Braan, yes, we had an offer from Mike's Gym to fight Sem Braan, we didn't think twice. It's the guy I watched on TV. Itwas the biggest test of my career. I think he's one of the top guys in my division. It was a tough fight, it went the distance, 3 rounds. I think we were really close, but maybe Sem Braan scored a little more with low kicks so the judges give him a victory. It was a good experience and I hope it will help me now in Tatneft to win the close fights.
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Liverkick: Speaking of Mike's Gym, you've also trained there haven't you?
Miran: Yeah, I trained there for one week and then I talked to Mike and then we explored if me and Sem Braan can fight.
Liverkick: And you also trained in Ukraine for your last fight?
Miran: Yeah, I always do my final preparation in my gym Yaksha Combat Team in Slovenia. If I'm in Slovenia every Thursday I go train with Petrosyan but I think if you want a fighter to develop he needs to try different styles. From every style you can teach something, you know. In Ukraine they have a lot of good boxers though, they have really good boxers. They're serious, 75kg world champion from Baku in this city. So here the people know how to box and I teach here. Here when I prepare myself, I do a lot of boxing.
Liverkick: Your last fight was on WFC 15.
Miran: It just wasn't my night, I don't know.
Liverkick: You won a split decision?
Miran: Yeah, it was a split decision but - actually I think I won the fight fair and square but I always want to fight until the end but this time it's just in the last round. I finished the second round, we (Corner) just said, "Miran just survive the last round because you won two rounds, you'll win." We were calculating. I don't like it, I never calculate so I'm not ending like it this fight. We just said, "Survive this round, you need to finish strong." because the power, the power and the conditioning were not where we wanted it to be.
Liverkick: Kickboxing as a sport in Slovenia, how popular is it?
Miran: I think it's very popular but potentially - because I think MMA in Europe, it's not that popular. The people don't like MMA as much as they like kickboxing. If you look at Holland, if you look at every other countries, kickboxing is bigger than MMA. So I think one promotion needs to promote kickboxing very good in Europe and we will not have a problem so we have a future.
Liverkick: In 2012, you are fighting in the Tatneft Cup. Tell us what that means to you to be fighting amongst some of the best 80kg fighters.
Miran: I'm really proud that the Russians called me. First because I speak Russian so it's even more exciting. My girl is from Ukraine so you know, Russian, Ukraine, they're very connected so it's like sort of fighting in my hometown. In 2009 I won world championship. In 2010 I won MTA Muay Thai Championship against (Abderahmane) Penda. In 2011 I won against Tadas Jonkus, K-1 Title MTA. In 2012 I really want to win this Tatneft Cup. I know it will be tough, there are some big opponents like Stetsurenko who scored a brual KO against me but I think if I devote myself - I will be dedicated. If I work hard, I can take this tournament for Slovenia. This is my only goal for 2012. Every fight I will do how I said - I will do everything to win this tournament and every other fight that I make aside and I want to win this tournament this year. This is my only goal in the sport for this year.
Miran will be fighting in the 2012 Tatneft Cup, starting in February. He doesn't have an opponent or date yet, but when he does, we'll be sure to break the news. He'll also be fighting on the "K-1 Final Fight" show on March 10 in Zagreb, Croatia. It's the same card that Cro Cop is fighting on and rumors are that there will be other big name fighters on the event, so fighting on this card is great for exposure. Look out for more content on Liverkick.com about the great fighters like Miran Fabjan in the Light Heavyweight division.