Former GLORY champ Artem Vakhitov is hoping he’ll be booked in a rematch with Alex Pereira – but he wouldn’t be opposed to fighting the man that made Pereira famous in the MMA space either.

Russian kickboxer Vakhitov recently traveled to California, where he served as a sparring partner for Edmen Shahbazyan in his preparation for a UFC 262 clash with Jack Hermansson.

“I was glad to do it and have been very interested before to prepare with a top MMA fighter,” Vakhitov told MMA Junkie through an interpreter. “I agreed to the proposal immediately when they reached out. It was a great opportunity.”

A striking specialist, Vakhitov wasn’t Shahbazyan’s only sparring partner for Hermansson, who boasts a strong ground game in his arsenal to go along with his standup skills. But Vakhitov said he enjoyed breaking down Hermansson and giving Shahbazyan some of the looks he can expect on May 15.

“My role was standup preparation, so I only worked with him on striking,” Vakhitov said. “I needed a little bit to be like Hermansson, so I copied him a little bit and made some movements – some kicks and punches – the same as him. We did it properly – standup and a little clinching.”

With well over 100 kickboxing contests between his professional and amateur runs, Vakhitov is certainly no stranger to the rigors of combat sports. After getting a little taste of MMA, Vakhitov said he’s open to giving it a go at some point in the future and believes fighters of his caliber in the stand-up game are exactly the type athletes fans want to see.

“Now, more and more newcomers are coming from muay Thai, kickboxing, and other combat sports to MMA,” Vakhitov said. “I think I could try it at some point. I think for most people, strikers are more interesting than wrestlers because fans like knockouts, they like dynamic striking. If there was a good offer to me, I could try it myself, for sure, with top strikers like Israel Adesanya or Jan Blachowicz or Jon Jones or any of these other guys who are mostly using striking in their style of fighting.”

Of course, Vakhitov knows that even as a former GLORY champ at 95 kilograms (approximately 209.4 pounds), it would take some serious work to be successful in MMA. But guys like Gokhan Saki and Tyrone Spong have also come through GLORY’s light heavyweight division, so anything is possible.

“There is certainly a different approach you have to take in MMA, but I could try these kinds of standing angles and small gloves,” Vakhitov. “Why not?”

There aren’t currently any offers on the table for Vakhitov to compete in MMA, but if any come across his desk, he says he’ll listen. In the meantime, he hopes for a rematch of a January contest with Pereira – the man who infamously knocked out Adesanya in 2017. When Vakhitov faced Pereira at GLORY 77, it was the Brazilian who was awarded a split-decision victory, ending a championship reign for the Russian that had lasted nearly five years.

“I hope for a rematch, for sure, Vakhitov said. “We’re still waiting. I didn’t get an answer. I hope that we will get it soon and I can get my belt back, but it’s still silent from the Pereira side. But let’s hope we will get it soon so I can get my belt back.”