KARACHI: Pakistan’s rising Mixed Martial Arts star Ahmed ‘Wolverine’ Mujtaba is set to make his debut at ONE: DEFENDING HONOR, Asia’s biggest promotion, making him just the third fighter from the country to do so.
Something has to give in the fight at Singapore’s Indoor Stadium as two unbeaten records clash, with the unbeaten Mujtaba taking on unbeaten local talent Benedict Ang today.
A chance to showcase their talent at such an occasion would have most folks psyched up, but 23-year-old Mujtaba is feeling melancholic with the anticipation of what usually ensues after his fights.
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In his young, blossoming career, Mujtaba has notched up seven straight victories. But not even that incredible streak has earned him the adulation and recognition he thinks he deserves.
Even two featherweight titles at UnderGround Battle Championship and World Series of Fighting Global Championship didn’t bring along any government help, sponsorship money, media attention or fan recognition.
His opponents may not be able to touch him, but his own people are killing him.
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“If my performance does not earn me the appreciation I deserve this time around, I will have to do something drastic,” Mujtaba told The Express Tribune from Kallang, Singapore. “I’ve said this before, I am a hot commodity internationally and I have offers from other countries to move there and fight for them.”
However, Mujtaba hopes it won’t come to that. “Despite financial problems, I have resisted those offers because I love Pakistan. But since no one here can be bothered to take notice, maybe I should leave.”
When asked what has led him to even consider such a decision, Mujtaba explained: “There is no money in my sport at domestic level whatsoever. My university BIUTEMS and a few generous people have supported my career, but the long grind wears you down.”
He continued: “My fights have begun to generate some buzz, but that happens only in the immediate aftermath. People forget me after five or six days and then I am back to square one — hustling for finances to support my career.”
In contrast, Mujtaba says the response he has gotten from fans in Singapore has been unbelievable. “Since I came here, everybody has been so courteous and respectful. Fans have flocked me for autographs and I’ve done several media interviews too. It’s a different world here from an MMA point of view.”
With that digression, Mujtaba came back to the matter at hand, which is to face Ang. “I promise this will be a bloodbath,” he said. “Acquiring a Singaporean visa wasn’t easy, plus you know how people with green passports are treated at airports. I am upset and I will take it out on Ang.”
Clearly vexed and having so many things on his mind before a big fight is usually a recipe for disaster in the volatile world of cagefighting, but Mujtaba promises that despite the plethora of distractions he is fully focused on his fight.
“We were required to weigh at 70kgs for this fight, but I worked so hard and followed my diet plan with such diligence that I am now a kilo under my target,” he added. “I am fully prepared for this fight, and will look to knock out Ang in the opening round. I have a reputation of being a submission expert, which is why I want to show my range and prove that I can stand and trade blows too.”
Mujtaba’s fight with Ang will be broadcast live on ONEfc.com at 4pm PST.
Courtesy : Express Tribune