Ilir Latifi is a Swedish professional mixed martial artist who has been competing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) since 2013. He is known for his tenacity, relentlessness, and powerful punches, which have earned him the nickname “The Sledgehammer.” However, there are many things you might not know about this MMA fighter. In this blog post, we will explore ten interesting facts about Ilir Latifi, from his background to his career highlights.

1. He Was Born in Kosovo

Ilir Latifi was born on July 28, 1983, in the city of Peć, in what was then Yugoslavia, and is now Kosovo. He moved to Sweden when he was eight years old, along with his family, to escape the war-torn region. Growing up in Sweden, Latifi was drawn to martial arts and began training in wrestling at the age of 14. He eventually added boxing, kickboxing, and jiu-jitsu to his arsenal, becoming a well-rounded MMA fighter.

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2. He Made His UFC Debut on Short Notice

Ilir Latifi made his UFC debut in April 2013 when he stepped in on short notice to fight Gegard Mousasi at UFC on Fuel TV: Mousasi vs. Latifi. He took the fight with just six days’ notice, after Alexander Gustafsson had to withdraw due to a cut. Despite being a heavy underdog, Latifi put up a valiant effort and went the distance with Mousasi, ultimately losing by unanimous decision. Though he lost his first UFC fight, Latifi showed his heart and determination, earning respect from fans and fellow fighters.

3. He Has Fought in Two Different Weight Classes

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Ilir Latifi has fought in both the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions during his MMA career. He began his UFC career as a light heavyweight, but after a loss to Jan Błachowicz in 2019, he decided to move up to heavyweight. He debuted in the heavyweight division later that year, defeating Derrick Lewis by decision at UFC 247. Latifi is one of the few fighters who have successfully moved up in weight and found success in a new weight class.

4. He Has Won Many Fights by KO or TKO

Ilir Latifi is known for his punching power, and many of his victories have come by way of knockout (KO) or technical knockout (TKO). Of his 14 professional wins, seven have been by KO/TKO. He has finished some of his opponents with brutal punches to the head and body, showing why he earned the nickname “The Sledgehammer.”

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5. He Has Fought Some of the Best Fighters in the World

Ilir Latifi has faced some of the best fighters in the world during his MMA career. He has shared the octagon with the likes of Jan Błachowicz, Ryan Bader, and Volkan Oezdemir, among others. While he hasn’t always emerged victorious, Latifi has shown that he can hang with the elite fighters in his weight class.

6. He Has a Strong Wrestling Background

Ilir Latifi’s wrestling background has been a significant factor in his success in MMA. He was a member of the Swedish national wrestling team from 2006 to 2010 and competed in many international tournaments. He has used his wrestling skills to control his opponents on the ground and avoid getting taken down himself. His grappling abilities have also helped him earn several victories by submission.

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7. He Has Overcome Adversity in His Career

Ilir Latifi has faced his fair share of setbacks in his MMA career. He has suffered injuries that have kept him out of action for months, and he has lost some high-profile fights. However, Latifi has shown resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity. He has bounced back from losses, overcome injuries, and continued to improve as a fighter.

8. He Is a Family Man and Religious

Outside of MMA, Ilir Latifi is a devoted family man and religious person. He is married and has children, whom he has credited with providing him with motivation and support. He is also a practicing Muslim and has spoken publicly about the importance of his faith in his life. Latifi’s strong family values and religious beliefs have helped him stay grounded and focused throughout his career.

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1. What is Ilir Latifi’s record in the UFC?
Ilir Latifi has a record of 5 wins and 7 losses in the UFC.

2. What is Ilir Latifi’s fighting style?
Ilir Latifi’s fighting style is based on wrestling, but he also possesses strong striking skills and grappling abilities.

3. What is Ilir Latifi’s nickname?
Ilir Latifi’s nickname is “The Sledgehammer.”

4. What is Ilir Latifi’s highest-profile win?
Ilir Latifi’s highest-profile win came in February 2020, when he defeated Derrick Lewis by decision at UFC 247.

5. What is Ilir Latifi’s religion?
Ilir Latifi is a practicing Muslim.

6. How old is Ilir Latifi?
Ilir Latifi was born on July 28, 1983, and is currently 37 years old.

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7. Where is Ilir Latifi from?
Ilir Latifi was born in Peć, Kosovo, and moved to Sweden when he was eight years old.


Ilir Latifi is a veteran MMA fighter who has faced some of the toughest opponents in his weight class. From his wrestling background to his knockout power, there are many things to admire about this fighter. However, what sets him apart is his resilience, determination, and strong values outside of the octagon. As Ilir Latifi continues his career in the UFC, it will be exciting to see what he accomplishes next. For now, though, fans will continue to cheer on “The Sledgehammer.”

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