A dream come true for Jammu and Kashmir’s professional MMA fighter Owais Yaqoob who is likely to enter Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) after trying his luck at Matrix Fight Night slated in September.
“I have an international fight organized by Matrix Fight Night in September. After that, I have a higher chance of entering the UFC. I have set my goal to become a UFC champion by 2025,” Owais said.
A resident of Murran Pulwama, the 25-year-old will receive training from professionals at Nurmegomadov School, which is being run by UFC stalwart Khabib Nurmegomadov.
“In July, I will leave for Dagestan, Russia where I will get advanced training in Nurmegomadov school. I will be the first MMA fighter from Jammu and Kashmir to get training at this level. It requires a lot of hard work and a good profile in this sport to get trained in such a great academy of MMA,” he said.
Till 2018, Owais was a professional Taekwondo athlete, until he watched a fight with Khabib, which inspired him to switch to MMA.
“I have 17 gold medals in martial arts including Taekwondo. Now I am into MMA, I will be preparing for UFC, which is the Olympics of MMA. I learnt grappling and wrestling in Chandigarh and also got training from Sumo Fight Club Indonesia” he said.
Owais is a three-time MMA national champion who adopted different fighting styles which set him apart from his contemporaries.
Owais’s journey has already inspired many aspiring fighters in the region, who see him as a symbol of hope and possibility. His success in the MMA has inspired many athletes from Jammu and Kashmir to venture into combat sports.
“I have established Lion’s Den Martial Arts Academy in Pulwama where 40 youth get training for MMA. I coach amateur fighters who are in the age group of 18,” he said.
Owais said his entry into the world of UFC will inspire many in J&K to join MMA. “Once I play a fight of this level, we will definitely have more players coming from Kashmir. MMA is a real fight and a great sport at the international level. I want to make my Kashmir proud,” he said
Firdous Hasaan/ The Kashmir Monitor