UFC’s Ilia Topuria Swarmed By Thousands Of Fans At Tbilisi Airport In Georgia

A hero's welcome...

UFC’s Ilia Topuria Swarmed By Thousands Of Fans At Tbilisi Airport In Georgia

Image: @iHeartGeorgius1

It’s been over a month since Ilia Topuria won the UFC featherweight title but the celebration continues as the new champ was mobbed by thousands of fans at Tbilisi Airport.

Newly crowned UFC featherweight champion Ilia Topuria was welcomed by at least five thousand fans at the Tbilisi Airport in the Georgian capital. Although Topuria currently represents Spain, it’s obvious how Georgians treat him like their own.

Topuria was born to Georgian parents in Germany, but when he was seven years old, the family relocated back to Georgia where the young Ilia and his brother Alexsandre began training Greco wrestling at a local school. When he turned 15, the Topurias moved to Spain because of the political strife in their homeland. Despite Ilia learning martial arts in Spain, there is no doubt that his foundation began in his parents’ home country.

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Last month, Topuria completed his mixed martial arts journey when he knocked out longtime UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski at the main event of UFC 298 to become the first Spanish and Georgian fighter to win a title belt under the world’s top MMA promotion.

Shortly after becoming world champion, Topuria presented the UFC featherweight belt to the country he represents: Spain. Ilia was a guest during a football match between Real Madrid and Sevilla at the legendary Santiago Bernabeu. He was called to the centre of the pitch where he was met by both team captains and given a standing ovation by the 75,000-strong crowd. 

During that visit, Topuria also met the Prime Minister of Spain who promised to give him his Spanish passport. Just last March, Spain’s Council of Ministers announced that the UFC champ had been awarded Spanish citizenship.

Topuria has expressed his desire to make his first title defence at a football stadium and with the reception he got in Spain, the UFC could be considering doing that. However, after his recent welcome in Georgia, the promotion’s matchmakers now have a good problem because it seems he is also an equally big hit there.