Coach and Fighter Ahmed El Maghraby on UFC’s Fight Island, MMA in the Middle East and More!
The world of mixed martial arts is setting its eyes on Abu Dhabi as it’s about to host one of the most anticipated series of events in 2020, UFC Fight Island. As the series of events is approaching, we had an exclusive interview with one of the most promising MMA Coaches and Fighters in the region, Ahmed El Maghraby, to discuss UFC Fight Island, MMA in the region, how he started his own gym, and more.
Ahmed el Maghraby is the founder of TKO gym, the first-ever Egyptian MMA coach to be certified by the UFC, with 17 years of experience, 3 world championships in Karate, and more than 12 national championships!
When did you develop your passion for Mixed Martial Arts?
The passion for martial arts started when I was six years old and since then it’s only been increasing and is not seeming to stop any time soon.
What’s your favorite martial art, and what are your specialties?
My favorite martial art has to be kickboxing ’cause I specialize in striking, however, I practiced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling for years.
How did TKO come to life?
After coaching for a year and seeing so many potentials in my fighters, I had to set up a home for them. TKO is our home and not just a dojo, and there I can really prepare my fighter and help them reach their full potential without any interference.
Who’s your all time favorite fighter?
My favorite fighter is Zabit Magomedsharipov, he is the most complete fighter in my opinion.
What are your expectations for UFC Fight Island?
Fight Island is a very good initiative for all martial arts in the region, it will most definitely shed light and create more opportunities for fighters in the Arab World, so I am expecting massive success for it.
Why do you think there are low representation of Arabs in the fight game?
The bad representation is something that is affecting fighters in the Arab World and in my opinion it is mostly the coach’s fault. Coaches rush into putting their fighters in the cage regardless if they are actually ready or not, and in the end, the fighter gets overwhelmed in the fight and looses, and at the end of the day, the image of fighters in ME is damaged because it’s the same scenario over and over again.
What do our fighters need to make it to the international scene?
Our fighters need patience and proper coaching to make it internationally. We have great facilities all over the country so this isn’t really an issue and you can make a champion any place if done correctly, it’s all about patience and hard work. Another huge problem is the mentality in Arab countries. Basically, in any Arab country, you can’t make fighting your career or source of income, which ends up making the fight game second priority for the fighters in the Middle East and that’s one of the reasons why we can’t make it in the international scene.
In your opinion, which Arab countries are producing the best MMA fighters?
Morocco, Jordon, and Lebanon produce the best fighters in the Middle East in my opinion.
Who are your favorite Arab fighters?
Badr Hari from Morocco and Ahmed Fares from Egypt.