Cristian Constantinov made Moldova proud at the 2024 GAMMA European Championships as he walked away with a silver medal following an incredible battle with Iwo Baraniewski.

For the longest time now, the heavyweight has been touted for big things in the world of mixed martial arts. At the Euros, he proved why with a string of strong performances – including a semi-final knockout that left many with their jaws on the floor.

In the final, however, he fell short to Baraniewski, but he made the Polish sensation work for it as they went the distance before Cristian lost via unanimous decision.

This was no mean feat against an opponent who entered the competition as GAMMA World and European gold medallist, three-time national judo champion and on an 11-win streak in MMA.

And so, following one of the top highlight bouts of the day, pundits were left excited as to what will come next for the Moldovan prospect.

We had a chance to catch up with Constantinov in the wake of the competition.

How does it feel to win a medal for your country and what does it mean for you and the team?

I felt very proud to bring a medal for my country. This shows that me and my team are doing an excellent job.

Talk us through your fights (especially the finals). Did they go as you expected, what were the biggest challenges you faced, and what have you learnt?

The fights were great, it was a very good experience. The final was the hardest but also the most beautiful. I defended well against his kicks and it was an exciting fight!

How did you train for the Euros and what was your focus?

I didn’t have a complete training camp because of an injury, and I wasn’t in my best shape, but I’m sure that at the World Championships you’ll see the difference.

Do you have other responsibilities (work, studies, family) and how do you balance it with training?

Yes, I work as a transport manager. It is more complicated to combine work and training, but I hope to make enough money to live off from MMA eventually.

How did you get into MMA and what was your sporting background before that?

Until I came to MMA, I did boxing and kickboxing. I agreed to compete in MMA for the first time at just four days’ notice because a guy was out injured and suddenly, I fell in love with MMA!

What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge has been to prove to myself that I can face strong opponents and I think that at this competition, I proved that.

What are your ultimate goals in MMA?

My goal in MMA is to have a fantastic career and to be remembered by the audience as a fighter who puts on a show in the octagon.

What’s next for you? The next challenge is the World Championships in Jakarta where I want to become champion!