After a three-year break, he returns to armwrestling. Rustam Babayev is preparing to return to the professional armwrestling under the aegis of PAL.
- Rustam is the best contestant in medium weight in history – said Engin Terzi a year ago on the pages of armpower.net. - I saw him for the first time at the 2000 European Championships in Istanbul. He was a junior wrestler then, but he also fought seniors, finished second after Valery Gouusow. Rustam was undefeated until the final, where he lost twice.
By 2007, Rustam took part in four Vendettas in Vegas, and lost one; to Alexander Bulenkov in 2006.
- In 2006 he was beaten in left arm by Umar Shakmanov (deceased), at the Europeans in Hungary – recalls Terzi. - He was also defeated by Bulenkov at the same event, although he lost on elbow fouls. Some time later Umar's doping tests came in positive, and Rustam's won another Europeans. Back then Rustam also fought in pro class, he was beaten by Bulenkov 2-4 in a left-arm superfight. Aside from some small problems in a fight with Lengarov in left arm, WAF 2009, Rustam had it easy for a couple of years, until the 2010 EAC in Moscow, where young Prudnyk shook his world for good 50 seconds.
Rustam vanished from the sports arena in 2013, due to being disqualified at the Worlds in Lithuania. He said in an interview: - I feel like anyone who's been suspended. I am resting, taking care of private affairs, I miss armwrestling. I still train, and when the time comes, I will be back. I am not thinking of backing out, at least not now.
In 2014, he seriously considered entering amateur MMA. It was supposed to be a new way of life for him. But after three years' break, he is back to armwrestling; we had a chance to see him at the Senecka Ruka 2016.
- At present, he is competing in 90 kg, and is facing a dilemma: whether to fight in 95 or 86 kg class – says Igor Mazurenko, organizer of PAL Vendettas in Vegas. - It has to be said that he has huge competition in 95 kg.
This year he is planning to start in the Zloty Tur.
- It will be a good test for Rustam – says Mazurenko. - Let's not forget that there are a lot of new guys in 86 and 95 kg. One of his opponents could be Ermes Gasparini, even though he lost to Rustam in Senecka Ruka, he could redeem himself in the Vendetta. Those are two very different tournaments. A classic example here is Tiete vs Miller, with Miller crushing Tiete in first 3 rounds, but losing power to win in the end.
How will Babaev perform after a break in armwrestling career? We will soon find out.