Lindbergh High graduate approaching top of amateur MMA rankings

LHS alum is one of the top MMA fighters in the country

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Photo by Max Choriev

Max Choriev poses with his title belts after his win on Jan. 22.

By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

Lindbergh alumnus Murodbek “Max” Choriev is one of the top-ranked mixed martial arts fighters in the Midwest, currently ranked third out of 503 welterweight fighters. In January, Choriev returned from a nearly three-year hiatus to win his first amateur belt over Richard Moad, improving his record to 7-1.

Choriev said winning his first belt helps to validate the effort he puts into training and preparing for a fight. 

“It shows ‘Hey this guy is working hard, here’s the result of that hard work,’” Choriev said.

Choriev hails from Uzbekistan, where a sport called kurash is popular — he describes it as a mix of judo and wrestling. Choriev said his uncle participated in both kurash and wrestling, and training with his uncle eventually led to his interest in wrestling. Choriev then began wrestling at Lindbergh High School after moving to the U.S., and fought in his first amateur MMA bout in 2015.

The 24-year-old fighter said his first fight sticks out as the one he remembers most, as he has since become accustomed to the nerves and atmosphere of his fights. Choriev said his parents, specifically his mom, are more nervous than he is for fights due to the dangers involved with MMA.

“My mom doesn’t come to any of my fights. She watches them afterwards,” Choriev said. “She doesn’t like me punching people in the face or them punching me. She doesn’t like the violence.”

Choriev said in the hours before a fight, he enters a state of mind where his movements flow and he doesn’t feel emotions like fear or nervousness. He referenced Bruce Lee’s famous “You must be shapeless, formless, like water,” quote when describing his mentality — he tries to flow like water.

It can be tough for a highly ranked amateur fighter like Choriev to find opponents willing and able to fight when he wants, so scheduling sometimes forces him to other states with events already scheduled. His ninth fight was Feb. 19 in Arkansas where he defeated his opponent to improve to 8-1.

He said scheduling won’t be an issue for much longer, as he is planning to start fighting professionally within the next year or so. Choriev said he would like to get as much experience as possible before going pro so he isn’t surprised by anything a professional opponent could throw at him.

“As an amateur I’m trying to build up my experience and fight the toughest guys possible, so when I do get to that pro level I won’t be overwhelmed or shocked at the pressure someone is putting on me,” Choriev said.

Recently, Choriev has teamed up with two other Lindbergh alums for sponsorships and a documentary covering Choriev’s recent return to fighting. The video, titled “Murodbek,” can be found on YouTube on the Yutes Media channel. 

Fellow LHS alum Drew Young, the documentary’s filmmaker, has been friends with Choriev since middle school and decided to help him make content after Choriev’s decision to shoot for the pros. 

Alum Jake Anderson-Little was Choriev’s main sponsor for his January fight. Anderson-Little said the sponsorship was partly to promote his book, “The Travel the World Diet,” releasing later this year, but mostly was due to his admiration for Choriev’s work ethic and drive.

“Lindbergh pride is a part of it … also the concept of bilingual children of first generation immigrants taking on a really big role in the family, translating and coming of age sooner, so I always have a really great respect for people who have done that,” Anderson-Little said.