Sadibou Sy couldn’t have picked a better time to hit the prime of his career.
When he first joined the PFL back in 2018, Sy only had eight MMA fights on his resumé after primarily competing in boxing and kickboxing. He faced plenty of obstacles along the way while essentially learning on the job, but now as he approaches the semifinals of the ongoing 2023 PFL season, he’s racked up six wins in a row, including a recent viral knockout where he demolished Shane Mitchell with a spinning heel kick.
While his focus remains on the PFL playoffs and being two wins away from claiming a second straight $1 million prize, Sy is also well aware that the promotion is launching a new superfight pay-per-view series in 2024, which could bring even bigger matchups and more lucrative paydays. That being said, Sy admits it would be hard to give up the current tournament format, which is a huge part of the reason he’s been able to get better at an exponential rate over a fairly short amount of time.
“The thing is, I feel the way I’m growing in this format, fighting four times a year, it’s been so good to me,” Sy told MMA Fighting. “I wouldn’t be the fighter I am today if I wasn’t fighting this consistently, and I wouldn’t fight this consistently if it wasn’t for the PFL format. I love the tournament, but at the same time, of course I want to be part of the pay-per-views. I don’t know. I couldn’t give a better answer.
“Even though the season is grueling, and the season with the weight cuts and a couple of days after the fight you have a new opponent and it’s back-to-back camps — it’s grueling but I love it. Make no mistake, if I were to fight on the pay-per-view instead of the tournament, it’s not because I’m tired and it’s not because I’m physically exhausted. No, I love this s***.”
Part of the appeal of the upcoming PFL pay-per-view format will be marquee one-off matchups that could give Sy the chance to face different and potentially bigger-named competition.
It also can’t be ignored that Bellator MMA is currently searching for partners or possibly an outright sale to a new owner as Paramount continues shedding various pieces of the company to better compete in the TV, film, and streaming space.
PFL has emerged as possible suitor for Bellator, which could infuse the promotion with a ton of new talent, including reigning welterweight champion Yaroslav Amosov, ex-interim title holder Logan Storley, and a long list of fighters who could serve as potential opponents for Sy.
“For me, every time the PFL signs a big name or gets better talent, I get excited, especially in my division,” Sy said. “Because it makes me work even more. If PFL would bring over some talent from Bellator, I would love it.”
As a knockout artist, Sy could easily seek out the best strikers an organization like Bellator could throw at him, but he prefers the toughest challenges possible. There’s no doubt Amosov tops that list, with a perfect 27-0 record and eight wins thus far in Bellator.
“That’s one of those fights, it would make me better,” Sy said of Amosov. “I would come out as a better fighter with me and my team studying his game. For me, all of that, I would love it.
“The opportunity is now. I’m in it right now. So right now, I’m obsessed with it and every challenge you put in front of me, I gladly enjoy it.”
For now, Sy will keep laser focused on the task at hand with the PFL playoffs, where another dream fight could await him in the finals. While he’s set to clash with Carlos Leal on Wednesday, 2018 PFL welterweight champion Magomed Magomedkerimov sits on the other side of the bracket and he’s the last person to hand Sy a defeat.
Sy would love nothing more than to avenge that loss, but he isn’t looking too far ahead. If he’s learned anything through his four PFL seasons, anything can — and usually does — happen.
“Obviously, both me and Magomedkerimov are at the top of this division,” Sy said. “If we face in the semifinals, the finals, during the season, we’re going to face each other again — there’s nothing in me that believes we won’t. I’m a completely different fighter than I was when we fought.
“For me, it would make an amazing finals, but even if he doesn’t make it to the finals, I know we’ll see each other next year or another year after that. I’m not worried about it.”