Mariusz Pudzianowski is arguably KSW’s most famous name, but he’s not feeling any pressure heading into one of the biggest fights of his career.
The legendary Polish strongman headlines KSW 70 this Saturday in Lodz, Poland, and standing opposite him will be a decorated athlete in his own right, former middleweight champion Michal Materla.
Materla will be going up to heavyweight to meet Pudzianowski, but given that he’s faced a considerably higher level of competition in his career than “Pudzian,” he’ll head into the marquee matchup as the favorite. That’s fine with Pudziankowski, who sees the opportunity as a win-win regardless of the outcome.
“Michal has more to lose than me,” Pudzianowski said on The MMA Hour. “Michal has to win and I only have to go there and have fun and I have to show a good fight and show people what I’m capable of. But Michal has to win this fight.”
Pudzianowski’s status with KSW is unquestioned as he was a key player during the promotion’s rise to prominence, first fighting at KSW 12 in December 2009. Expectations were sky high for the multiple-time World’s Strongest Man champion and he delivered with a 43-second knockout of Marcin Najman.
Though Pudzianowski claims that KSW officials originally had to take out a loan to sign him, he’s never had any issues with his compensation in the 13 years that he’s competed for the Polish organization.
“I never thought to work for other organizations, but for years I had a lot of propositions from a lot of other companies,” Pudzianowski said. “But there are not a lot of organizations that can pay me the amount of money I want, but KSW does it. So there’s no discussion, I’m really good with KSW.”
Should Pudzianowski defeat Materla on Saturday, it will mark his first time defeating a fighter who previously held a major title (albeit in a different weight class). In his third MMA appearance, Pudzianowski fought former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia, but fell to “The Maine-iac” in the second round.
Pudzianowski turned 45 in February and regardless of how his clash with Materla goes, he’s not contemplating retirement even though he’s more than satisfied with how his unexpectedly successful fighting career has gone.
“I’m not thinking about this right now,” Pudzianowski said. “I want to do it as long as I would have fun. So right now I don’t have any kind of date, I just want to do it. I could quit in a moment anytime because I don’t have to do it, but I still have fun out of it, so there is no discussion right now.”
“As an athlete, I accomplished everything,” Pudzianowski later added. “I don’t have anything more to prove. I don’t have anything more to gain. I had a good career. I have a lot of money, so I want to have fun, I want to be healthy, and I want to train hard because this is what I like.”