David Teymur has been a successful martial artist for many years, but it wasn’t until 2013 that he made his MMA debut. After appreciated achievements on the reality show The Ultimate Fighter, he earned a spot on the biggest stage with the UFC. David has taken advantage of that chance, to say the least, with four straight wins and two of them by knockout. We had a chat with the Syriac-Swedish 29-year-old and discussed things like his relationship with his brother Daniel Teymur, the transfer to MMA, management, to be an entertainer, UFC’s lightweight division and his plans on getting married!
The Teymur Brothers
The grappling session at Allstars Gym in Stockholm is intense and David is being pressed hard by his teammates. He has started his training camp for his upcoming fight against Nick Lentz at UFC Utica 1st of June. He was supposed to fight at UFC Liverpool but after his opponent pulled out, David got re-booked and is now planned to fight on the same card as his older brother Daniel.
”WE SHOULD PITCH THE IDEA OF A TOURNAMENT TO DANA WHITE, TWO VERSUS TWO, BROTHERS AGAINST BROTHERS!”
The UFC fighter Anthony Pettis has explained in interviews how he dislikes fighting on the same card as his younger brother Sergio, as he becomes so emotionally engaged in his brother’s fight and can’t focus on himself. However, David doesn’t see any problem fighting the same night as Daniel. “It feels good competing together, it’s just fun. We’ve done it many times before so I don’t see any problems with it. We help each other so much during the preparations and always make sure to push each other to our maximum level.”
It’s quite unusual with siblings in the UFC, and for every win David and Daniel collects, the Teymur Brothers brand is strengthened. We discuss how they would stand against other UFC brothers, and also how common it is that people mix them up. “It happens all the time, as our names are quite similar and we only have one year in age difference. But I always give people a rule to remember who’s who: I’m the most good-looking one, haha! There are of course a few other brothers in the UFC, e.g. Nick and Nate Diaz, Anthony and Sergio Pettis, the Nogueira brothers. Maybe we should pitch the idea of a tournament to Dana White, two versus two, brothers against brothers! Imagine The Teymur Brothers against The Diaz Brothers, it would be sold-out for sure!”
”THEY USED TO TELL US TO GET REAL JOBS INSTEAD”
The family is of great value to David, and outside of training he spends a lot of time together with his loved ones. In a video production by Kimura.se from 2014, David’s father is interviewed and explains how much he dislikes MMA. Even David talks about how he used to change the channel if they showed MMA. But the view of the sport has changed within the family. “I guess we all had some prejudice against the sport, which is normal when you don’t understand it fully. But now we’ve been doing it for so long that they’re nothing but proud of us. I mean, we’re doing something good. Back in the day, they used to tell us to get real jobs instead, but now they’re proud. They’re always awake in the middle of the night in front of the TV when we’re fighting, the whole family.”
The road to success
David was a very successful thaiboxer before he transitioned to MMA, but it’s mainly after the latest wins in the UFC that his life has started to change, even if it seems important to him not to change as a person. "Of course, many people recognize us, want to take pictures and talk. It’s more and more attention all the time. But I’m still the same David with both feet on the ground. I do my best to be humble and treat everybody the same. And it’s not like I’ve become super rich or anything, I can promise you that. I only do this because I love it so much. If I was after the money I would’ve looked for a job. I’ve got a degree in construction engineering, so I would probably earn more from that.”
”I’M THE FIRST SWEDISH UFC FIGHTER WITH A 4-0 RECORD”
Many would say that David’s weight class, the lightweight division, is the most exciting one in the UFC right now, with names like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Conor McGregor, Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier. David is not afraid to face anyone of them and would have preferred a top 10 ranked opponent for his next fight. “I both wanted and thought I deserved it. I’m the first Swedish UFC fighter with a 4-0 record. But time will tell, you never know when the UFC calls and gives you a top ranked opponent. When it happens I will be ready. I’ve faced very skilled grapplers and strikers, world class fighters. So when it comes to Khabib, [Edson] Barboza and the other guys, I feel comfortable standing with them. It’s just a question about when it will happen, and when it’s time I’ll stand against them, and I can win!”
A good manager who handles the contact and negotiates with the UFC is key to get good matchups. In January this year, David signed with one of the best in the business, First Round Management and the owner Malki Kawa. “We had met in the US and started talking. They seemed good and wanted to help with my UFC career, so why not give them the chance? We talk a lot, almost every day actually. I need someone who handles that part, and I’m very satisfied this far.”
”I ALWAYS SAY THAT I’M MARRIED TO MY SPORT!”
With the development of the sport over the last couple of years, the importance of personality and entertainment has increased dramatically in order to become successful. It’s no longer enough to just be a skilled fighter. There are videos on YouTube of David’s interviews where he makes jokes and even sings for the reporters. According to the comment sections, the fans seem to appreciate his humor and personality. “I just try to be myself, it’s no fake image. It’s part of the job to entertain, and some fun interviews combined with an entertaining fighting style makes people like you. The fans know that the Teymur brothers always put on a show!”
So what’s in store for David in the future? What will he do after the fighting career? And is he planning on following in his older brother’s footsteps and get married? “Right now I can only focus on fighting. I’m not worried to find a job after this career. I have my education, but I might as well open up my own gym, who knows? I’m in the middle of my career now, so I’m fully focused on this. When it comes to getting married, I always say that I’m married to my sport! It’s not something I stress about. When the right time comes, it will happen. I’m single right now, just so all the girls who read this knows, haha!”
It’s just a few weeks left for his fight, but he doesn’t have any plans on going to the US early to prepare. “I’ve got many offers to go there and train, but I prefer to be here with our team. We help each other and develop together. I’ve got so many good fighters to train with here, Reza [Madadi], Frantz [Slioa], Jonathan [Westin] and many more. All I need, I get here at Allstars.”
Who do you think we should interview next? ”My brother Daniel, of course!”
We say thank you to David Teymur and wish all the best with his career.
Text: Pelle Axelsson
Photos: Benjamin Bayard