While Barstool Sports Jeff Nadu spends most of his weekends watching college basketball and interacting with his thousands of social media followers, his regularly scheduled activities were interrupted this past Saturday by UAE Warriors 36. Despite being a self-proclaimed mixed martial arts novice, Nadu would not miss the opportunity to watch fellow Albanian Dennis Buzukja carry the country’s flag in Dubai.
“I try to keep up with Albanians in sports,” Nadu said. “There’s an Albanian fighter in the UFC, Ilir Latifi, and I’ve been following Dennis since I found out about him.”
Buzukja’s performance did not let Nadu down, as “Bazooka” walked out of the UAE Warriors cage with a victory in under one round.
“The kid is obviously very tough, I think he’s an animal,” Nadu said. “Getting in an arena like that with so many people watching, and being able to perform like that is incredible to me. I think the kid’s a star, I think he’s going to be a star, and he obviously works hard at what he does.”
Throughout Buzukja’s 12-fight career, which includes two Contender Series appearances, one thing has become abundantly clear: Albanian people support Albanian people. This is why somebody like Jeff Nadu will take time out of a busy college basketball Saturday to tune into a UAE Warriors fight card.
“I think it has a lot to do with just loyalty and how we’re raised,” Nadu said. “Albania is a small country, so anytime you see an Albanian doing well you want to see them succeed. I think it’s just how we are; we’re loyal people, and we want to see our people do well.”
Despite being as hardcore a college basketball fan as it gets, the presence of an emerging Albanian star such as Buzukja has opened Nadu’s eyes to the entire mixed martial arts world.
“I watch a lot of the big fights, but Dennis is definitely getting me to want to watch things like maybe the Contender Series or some of the smaller shows,” Nadu said.
With the win this Saturday, Buzukja will improve to 10-2, and extend his win streak to six. And for Nadu, it’s back to watching Southland Conference basketball games, as well as supporting his fellow Albanians.
“Anytime I see an Albanian, I want to see him do well,” Nadu said. “It’s kind of underrated, butwe don’t give Albanians enough credit in terms of how they’ve taken over all these different things. There are a lot of Albanians out there doing well, so shout out to Dennis for being the next.”