Regardless of whether you are a diehard fan of the sport of kickboxing, you’ve probably heard the name Gökhan Saki. And if you haven’t, you’ve likely been living under a rock.

Saki (GLORY)

Saki (James Law/GLORY)

The Dutch-Turkish fighter is a veteran of nearly 100 kickboxing contests and has racked up 79 wins along the way, including 56 stoppages. If that weren’t impressive enough, the 30-year-old, 6-foot tall fighter has accomplished that while competing in the sport’s heavyweight division.

Now, on April 12 in Istanbul, Saki will drop down to the 95-kilogram, light heavyweight division for the GLORY championship tournament at GLORY 15. In his own backyard and for fans watching on Spike TV, he’ll be looking to put on a show.

“I will show the world who the real champ is, in front of my hometown crowd,” Saki told The MMA Corner.

Saki, known as “The Rebel,” has been competing in the sport since he was just 11 years old. He turned pro at the age of 16 and hasn’t looked back. Known for his devastating left hook, Saki has fought not only for GLORY, but also It’s Showtime and K-1 through his lengthy career. After K-1 essentially collapsed following the 2010 Grand Prix, many of the sport’s top heavyweights were picked up by GLORY.

“If there were no GLORY, there would be no competition,” declared Saki.

With a resume that includes wins over Daniel Ghiţă, Melvin Manhoef, Tyrone Spong and Ray Sefo, Saki was considered one of the favorites to capture GLORY’s heavyweight tournament at GLORY 11: Chicago in October. Yet, after a controversial knockdown, Saki found himself on the wrong end of the scorecards in his semifinal contest against eventual tournament winner Rico Verhoeven.

“[I] will not give much comment on that. Everyone who has seen that fight knows!” Saki adamantly proclaimed.

Saki has not dropped two consecutive fights since 2009, and whether it was the loss to Verhoeven or a second chance at GLORY gold that prompted the Mike’s Gym product to drop down in weight, he’s confident it will pay off.

“I feel that I can take both weights,” he explained. “[You will see] a Gökhan Saki weighing 95 kilos and giving a show of fireworks you’ve never seen before! Bam!

Saki (L) (GLORY)

Saki (L) (James Law/GLORY)

Joining Saki in the four-man, one-night tournament will be the aforementioned Spong, Nathan Corbett and Saulo Cavalari. Saki has drawn the Australian Corbett in his half of the bracket, but he’s not spending much time contemplating strategy.

“No thought, just KO,” he said. “May the best man win.”

If Saki is able to get past Corbett and Spong tops the Brazilian Cavalari, it will set up a rematch of the pair’s 2009 K-1 Grand Prix bout. Saki knocked out the Surinamese fighter with a fourth-round right hook. Despite his previous victory over Spong, Saki isn’t banking on the past.

“That was then,” he stated. “Now it’s 2014 and we’re both more experienced and grown as humans and fighters. I expect fireworks.”

Whether the two will cross paths in the ring again remains to be seen, but there’s another area where the two share similarities: a passion for mixed martial arts. In fact, Spong has already competed for World Series of Fighting and Saki trains regularly in other forms of combat. Could the pair eventually meet in the cage instead of the ring?

“Maybe in the future. Why not?” said Saki with a laugh.

Regardless of Saki’s future plans for MMA or otherwise, he has one message for fans this weekend.

“Come see me kicking ass on April 12!”

Gökhan would like to thank all his fans and GLORY for the opportunity. Follow Saki on Twitter: @gokhantherebel