In a sport renowned for pitting fighters with polarising personalities against one another, on Saturday night, the quiet and reserved, Pavol Langer, will go toe-to-toe with the flash, Karlos Vemola, in a battle for Oktagon MMA supremacy.
Born in a small village in Slovakia, Langer never had any aspirations of becoming a champion — for him MMA was merely a hobby. But after putting together an incredible run, the promotion had no choice but to give him a title shot.
And with his home crowd in Bratislava cheering him on, he’ll look to produce the performance of a lifetime.
With an interesting personality, the life of Langer is shrouded in mystery. From an unexpected rise to the top, to his job working in the IT department for the police special forces, Oktagon fans have become intrigued as to how far this anomaly of a fighter can go.
His soft aura is mystifying, with a sprinkling of danger. Granted, this man might have a timid nature, but it’s clear that there’s an animal within that he’s ready to unleash.
But how will he cope with the carnival atmosphere that comes with taking on Vemola? Regardless of how many times he’s upset the applecart, Langer has never come up against anyone quite like ‘The Terminator’.
With a luxurious lifestyle and actual lions roaming around his garden, the Czech athlete screams superstar. But his rival isn’t overly concerned with what he’s is bringing to the table.
In an exclusive interview with Sporf, he said: “I can’t judge him. It’s his lifestyle. I just live an average life, and I’m working every day for eight hours. Sometimes, I have to train before and after work. It’s very hard to manage, and I have to suffer.”
Pavol Langer has an opportunity to make history at Oktagon MMA 47
For many fighters, the road to glory is one of pain and adversity. But while Langer has had his fair share of difficulties, he couldn’t have asked for it better as a child, growing up in a small village, with an adoring mother and father who ensured he had a positive upbringing.
The Slovakian reminisced: “As a kid, I lived with my parents and had everything I needed. I started going to karate classes when I was five years old, and I had an average life. I was studying at high school, then university and nothing really special happened in my childhood.”
“I started exploring other martial arts, such as traditional jiu-jitsu. Then, I started visiting some seminars for other disciplines like aikido. I remember going to one seminar in particular, and I fell in love with jiu-jitsu. I said, ‘I have to do this’.
“The instructor was a very interesting person. So, after the seminar, I asked him if I could train in his gym. And that’s when I started to do Japanese jiu-jitsu. But then I had an injury, and I needed surgery. During this time, I was not able to train. So, when I finished my recovery, I got an opportunity to try a fight. They asked me if I wanted to fight, and I was like, ‘Yes, for sure, I want to try’. This is my MMA history.”
Pavol Langer relishes the role of being the underdog
In an almighty career resurgence, the powerhouse has proven his ability to overcome the odds, most recently defeating Alexander Popppek in front of 13,000 of his own fans in Oberhausen, Germany.
And while the pressure of walking out to a cacophony of boos would have been enough to strike fear into the heart of any rational-thinking human being, Langer is simply built different.
With a nonchalance seldom seen at the highest level, the martial artist produced a composed showing to walk away with the Oktagon MMA Interim light heavyweight title.
He explained: “I wasn’t thinking about the crowd. Maybe I was without stress because I was in his territory, and I didn’t know anybody. So there was nothing that bothered my mind.”
Having now proven to the world that he’s a very real player at the top of the division, he only has one more hurdle left to cross, in the form of Oktagon’s number one star, Vemola. And with his home crowd on his side, he believes he has what it takes to write his name into the history books forever.
Langer beamed: “This fight is very important to me because there are a lot of people there that have written to me to tell me that they are going to support me. It means a lot for me to have a good performance and satisfy all these people.”
Langer isn’t your average fighter. He’s a softy-spoken, adoring father, who embarked on this journey without any expectations of reaching the level he has today.
Ultimately, to become a legend, you have to beat a legend, and when the cage door closes on Saturday night, he’ll have the opportunity to do just that.
Featured Image Credit: Oktagon MMA