The Asian Today speaks witjh English fighter of OKTAGON MMA organization. Shoaib Yousaf. He started his professional career in 2016.
What was your first experience with OKTAGON in November like for you?
I have fought on some big shows, but OKTAGON has been the best. The production, the way they look after you, it’s a fighter’s dream. Even the little things that people don’t see backstage, everything was perfect.
After that impressive win, you’re ranked number 4 in their featherweight rankings. Do you think a win gives you a shot at the title?
I think so, I’ll be up there. My focus is on my next fight though, I don’t like thinking ahead too far, so let’s see.
You’re fighting Eduard Kexel – how has it been preparing for him?
He’s a very good, tough opponent. He reminds me of myself. We both did the IMMAF, and he’s a good opponent, a good wrestler and I’m not looking past him. It’ll be a good fight.
Losene Keita is the featherweight champ, and one of the biggest stars in OKTAGON. What are your thoughts on him as a fighter?
He’s very very good. Explosive, and you can’t say anything but good things about him. I’d never say no to any fight.
The fans you brought to Manchester were incredible, probably the loudest on the night. How has the reaction been since this fight got announced?
The Assassin’s Army will be in Newcastle! They’re always amazing whenever I get a fight announced, and they’ll come out in full force again.
How important is it for you to be flying the flag for Lancashire?
I come from a small town in Lancashire (Nelson) and it’s strange for me, but I think I am a bit of a role model. It’s very important for me. They’ve always given me great support and I want to do this not just for myself, but for them.
You’re a trailblazer when it comes to British-Pakistani fighters. Have you seen a spike in interest in martial arts in the British-Pakistani community in recent years?
Yeah 100%. When I used to fight on some shows, I used to be the only British-Pakistani fighting, but now they are more and more. A lot more are coming into MMA now.
What does it mean for you be to a role model for this community?
There are a lot of other role models as well doing great things for the community, but the fact that people see me as one is amazing, and I love that I can help inspire.