Over the years, the sport of mixed martial arts has had its share of re-emerging icons springing back into competition. After a brief hiatus from the fight scene, UFC veteran Ivan Salaverry made his return to action in August at Cage Contender 14.

With over a decade of participation, Salaverry has seen the sport grow from the ground to the worldwide phenomenon it is today. The lessons he acquired over the years have contributed to his development as a fighter and even his life outside the cage.

“I have learned so many things through my fight experience,” Salaverry told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “I’ve learned you have to be in the right mind frame, have a job and family to support you, and most importantly you have to have a love for what you do.”

Ivan Salaverry (L) battles Matt Ewin (David Lethaby/Sherdog)

Accumulating a vast amount of knowledge from competition and various training partners throughout the years, it would only seem fitting for Salaverry to transfer this information to the next generation of superstars. With the establishment of Ivan Salaverry MMA, the UFC veteran has use this hub as a place of learning to assist fighters with reaching their goals.

“At my school, I have divided my system into four sports programs which consist of wrestling, submission grappling, and kickboxing, which all transfers to my mixed martial arts program,” Salaverry explained. “Based on the knowledge they get from each program, I try to work with each individual to help push their style.”

The great success his fighters have obtained in their fight careers is a true testament to the influence Salaverry has set upon his students. Nevertheless, through this instruction, there had to be a burning desire in Salaverry to once again relieve that moment of being in the cage himself.

His wish would soon be granted when an unexpected phone call from overseas promotion Cage Contender offered Salaverry an opportunity to replace Jeff Monson to fight in the main event on its card. Training consistently with his team on a regular basis, the UFC veteran saw no problem at accepting the offer on such short notice. After all, Salaverry loves the fight life.

“Although I wasn’t top form, I always maintained my athletic abilities from my consistent training here at my academy with my team up here in Seattle,” Salaverry said.

Taking that long flight overseas to Dublin, Ireland, it seemed but a familiar exhilarating thrill for the 41-year-old Canadian, a feeling he hadn’t felt in quiet sometime. Against a tough opponent in Fraser Opie, Salaverry found the fight taking a shocking twist courtesy of a controversial stoppage due to an illegal strike to the head, giving Fraser the victory.

Ivan Salaverry (red gloves) training (Halee Yu)

“I never received a warning from the referee, got a point deducted, or was my opponent hurt,” Salaverry said. “In all, I would love to have a rematch, just with a different referee.”

Putting the loss aside, from interaction with the people to being backstage to the actual fight, returning to the cage was a pleasurable and great experience for Salaverry to relive once more. With the ring rust dusted off and the competition spark re-ignited, the question still remains: will we see this great veteran in the cage again?

“Well, no guarantees at this moment, but I really hope so. I enjoy fighting a lot, so we will see what happens.”

Top Photo: Ivan Salaverry (Facebook/Ivan Salaverry MMA)

About The Author

Monta Wiley
Staff Writer

Monta Wiley is an aspiring sports journalist that has covered the world of MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has been a regular contributor to US Combat Sports. Monta has a Bachelor's degree in Aviation Administration from California State University-Los Angeles. Outside of his writing, you can find Monta at the gym honing his BJJ technique.