New York bantamweight Ashiek Ajim is just days away from returning to action at CES 63. As arguably the most avoided fighters on the regional circuit, Ajim is chomping at the bit to get back in there and display his far-reaching talents.
In this exclusive interview with the highly-touted prospect, we delve into his upcoming fight with newly announced opponent Brennan Crow, the frustrations of finding willing opposition, as well as a recap of his bout with Kris Moutinho. Also, if you haven’t been fortunate enough to watch Ajim compete yet, he details what viewers should expect to see when he graces the cage.
Ajim is scheduled to fight at CES 63 on Aug. 7 and it’ll mark his first appearance of 2021. Months of diligent preparation has the bantamweight feeling like the best version of himself.
Ashiek Ajim Interview
“Camp went really well man,” Ajim confirmed, “I feel good going into it, but I know that’s what everybody says. I feel really confident heading into the fight, but the thing I’m most happy about is that I actually have an opponent. The guy I was supposed to fight pulled out about a week ago, but luckily they were able to find me a replacement finalized. The new guy is Brennan Crow.”
Finding Ajim a last-minute replacement is honestly nothing short of a miracle. That’s due to the fact that landing him opponents, in general, has been a difficult task in the past. Needless to say, that aspect of his career has been frustrating. It’s also been widely publicized. So much so that Chael Sonnen even discussed the topic on his famed YouTube channel.
“Oh it sucks,” he asserted. “Cause I’m trying to come up the right way and it’s made it difficult. Most guys get a couple of somewhat gimme fights at first as you build your way up. For me, it’s been tough guys right off the bat, but I’m not making any excuses. I gotta out there and do my job, plain and simple.”
If you ask top-level athletes, most will tell you that they learn more from their defeats than they do from their victories. Ajim is no different. Yes, he suffered his first pro loss in his last outing, but he had a lot of success early on in the contest. Ajim has taken valuable lessons from the experience that he’ll surely carry with him into his future fights.
Moutinho Fight (10/14/20)
“First thing I took away is that experience definitely matters in fighting,” Ajim said. “Like he had maybe four times the amount of fights I had, but really what happened in that fight is after I dropped him I kind of had a mental lapse. In my mind, all I was thinking was just land one more clean shot. Going into the second round it might have been somewhat of an adrenaline dump, but I can’t really blame the adrenaline dump for the loss. So what I try to take away is what I can see like the technical mistakes. For the most part, it came down to controlling the engagements. I was letting him come forward whenever he wanted to and not disengage when I should’ve. So going forward I’ll be sure to be in complete control of the engagements and go on my own terms.”
Crow Fight (8/7/21)
“Yeah so it’s Brennan Crow from California,” Ajim began, “He’s 3-3 and his last fight was back in 2019. So there’s a gap in history going into the fight. Basically, I don’t know if the past two years he’s been training really hard getting better or if he’s been slacking off and just decided to come back and fight again. From what I’ve seen in his past fights that I can find on YouTube, he’s sort of a scrapper who comes forward. Like I saw in two or three of his fights he and his opponent just knocking each other down. So going into it I don’t plan on getting into those firefights with him. My gameplan is more of a counter fighter and have him make the mistakes so I can capitalize.”
Gunning for Regional Hardware
“I think I have two more CES fights,” he stated. “They’re holding another event in mid-September so if I come out from this fight unscathed I’ll try and get on that card. As far as the UFC goes, I’m not looking to jump in there right away, I’m thinking sometime next year will be my time. By then I’ll definitely have a good amount of fights under my belt and I’m looking to fight for as many organizations as I can. Until now, I’ve fought my entire pro career at CES. My goal before making it to the UFC is to win every belt in all the regional organizations, just collecting belts all over. Then, make it to the UFC and let my career play out from there.”
For anyone who hasn’t watched Ashiek Ajim fight yet, first of all, if you have a subscription to UFC Fight Pass you ought to tune in to CES 63. Otherwise, you’ll absolutely see him live and direct in the near future. This is what you should expect when he steps inside the cage to compete.
“For people who have seen my fights before they’ll probably see me as a power puncher or a knockout artist because the majority of my fights have ended by finish,” Ajim pointed out, “But I see myself as a very technical fighter. I’m really big on technique and being well-rounded in grappling, striking, and wrestling. So I try to be as technical as possible and really just try to put on a showcase. Sometimes it might be a banger, but I’m trying to always be as technical as possible. To show all the hard work I put in.”
Ajim has spent several years making gains at Long Island MMA. Over the past six years, he’s developed strong connections as he focuses on improving “everything every day”. Make sure you remember the name Ashiek Ajim because it’s only a matter of time before the bantamweight hits the big stage.
If you enjoyed this interview, be sure to check back for more exclusive conversations with the world’s greatest mixed martial artists.
Featured Image Credits To Long Island MMA and Fitness Center
Ryan Truland is an MMA writer who conducts interviews with athletes, provides creative pieces, and whatever else is needed to keep readers up to date on the latest and greatest MMA news.