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Kharitonov says year off let him to make proper career changes

A Bellator MMA and Spike TV logo are seen at Bellator 134 on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, in Uncasville, CT. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
(AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

Sergei Kharitonov has been around in the MMA world. Now with 16 years in the business, he is coming off a hiatus that lasted over a year and about to make his Bellator debut.

“I feel nervous, but at the same time, I feel a responsibility because of the fans here in the United State and all over the world who are going to see me,” Kharitonov told MMA Fighting. “… They’re used to exciting fights (from me), and they’re so knowledgeable about MMA, so I feel this responsibility. I want this fight to be as exciting as possible, because I never have boring fights.

“This time that I had off, I had the chance to reflect on my career and change certain things in my training — just mentally, to think about the career that I’ve had and change training a little bit, be smarter. I’m still motivated. I’m motivated to fight in Bellator, and from now on, I want to have four, maybe five fights a year. I want to be active, as active as possible.”

Kharitonov will face Javy Ayala at Bellator 163. He is coming off of five-straight victories prior to his year away, all by stoppage.

With a career that has seen Kharitonov compete extensively in PRIDE FC, to Dream, to Strikeforce, and now to Bellator, through wins and losses, Kharitonov is pleased with where his career has ended up. He’s not too worried about things like rankings either. He will let others worry about that.

“It’s a hard question for me,” Kharitonov said. “I don’t think about those things. I’m happy with what I have. I’m happy with the career that I’ve had, and I’m looking forward to this debut. I’m looking forward to having the best performance that I can have.

“People who watch my fights, they can make the decision where to put me in the rankings. I don’t think it’s my place to do that, and honestly, I don’t think about that at all. I think if I perform well, if I have the performance that I want to have, I’m going to be up there. But it’s not going to be me who puts myself in the rankings, it’s going to be someone else.”

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