Omar Ahmed takes on Henry Lee in a Muay Thai bout on Friday Night Fights tonight in a main event that nobody will want to miss on UFC Fight Pass. The 11-3 fighter and I sat down for an interview ahead of the fight and we talked a great number of things including his troubled past, the fight with Lee, and much, much more!
As a kid, Ahmed was always athletic. He was a big fan of basketball and started at a young age in sports. But he kept getting into trouble, a story we hear with a lot of fighters. “I actually started out at the age of 13. I was a city kid growing up. I got into a lot myself into a lot of trouble and I was also very athletic. I was on a basketball team at 8 years old and was known for being athletic. But, I was always getting into trouble and getting into street fights.
It was Omar Ahmed’s brother that would get him involved into martial arts. Ahmed said it was easy to get him hooked on the sport and it pretty much had him immediately. “So, my brother had already been signed up in kickboxing for two months before I had got into it. He thought it would be a great idea for me to come down and see how it was. Hopefully, for me to like it and It would be a good way for me to stay out of trouble and do something more positive with myself. And, you know, as soon as I went into the gym I loved it and I knew it was something I was going to be good at with my athleticism and my fighter’s mentality. Fighting was something that I wasn’t really scared of. So, I just stuck to it and I knew right away that this is what I’m going to do for a long time.”
Don’t worry though, hoops lovers, Ahmed still plays basketball too. “I still play basketball any time I get a chance after I’m done training. At the gym that I’m at they have a basketball court so I’ll go shoot around and maybe run a game with some of the guys here and there. It helps with my cardio and coordination as well.”
Omar Ahmed and the upcoming fight
As for his camp, Omar Ahmed is training for his strengths, not his weaknesses. “It’s always business as usual. But, I am training more knees and more elbows. More clinching, I had been doing a lot of hard sparring. A lot of mental preparation because my last four fights were kickboxing,” says Ahmed. “It’s a different pace and a different style. I think that my last four kickboxing fights will give me an advantage in the Muay Thai fight because I’m going to be fighting at a high pace that a lot of Muay Thai fighters aren’t really used to. I practice a lot of moves and incorporate some taekwondo into my arsenal. It always throws off traditional Muay Thai fighters. That’s going to be one of my weapons in this Muay Thai fight and one of my advantages.”
One of the main advantages a professional martial artist gets is that he fights all over the world and gets to see so many places. Omar Ahmed has been to the most wild of places in the world of Muay Thai, fighting on the King’s Cup in Bangkok, Thailand.
“I have fought in a lot of great places. Without a doubt it would be on the King’s birthday which is called the ‘King’s Cup’ in Thailand on December 5th, 2012. I had the privilege as being the only American to fight in front of 100,000 people in Bangkok, Thailand. It was insane and I won. It was unreal. I was the first fight of the night. The way that worked was they had a big ceremony before the event started.”
Ahmed continues, “While the ceremony was going on, they had me and my opponent in the ring waiting for about 15 minutes during the ceremony to start off the event. Once the ceremony was over, they were ready to ring the bell and get the fight started. It was very memorable. I got to meet Ramon Decker, he actually presented my trophy after I won the fight. I got to take pictures with him and also the biggest promoter in Thailand, Songchai [Rattanasuban]. He was impressed with me. He actually left right after my fight. It was like he had almost seen enough for the day. He got me a lot of fights in Lumpee stadium afterwards. It was a huge accomplishment for me. I got to see a lot of those events on DVD’s and YouTube and I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, how many people are there?’ Up to 200,000 people can show up to these events. I know that there were 100,000 people that were there watching that event. I don’t think I’ll fight in front of a crowd that large ever again. That’s my favorite event I’ve ever been a part of.”
You will notice that Omar Ahmed is a unique fighter in the Muay Thai world. He’s not your traditional fighter. He has incorporated a lot more than just the techniques of Muay Thai into his game from some of the best fighters across all the combat sports in the world.
“I am a fan of martial arts. And I do watch all the champions, all the boxing champions, Muay Thai champions, and kickboxing champions. Because of my athleticism, it’s easy for me to incorporate any of their moves that I like into my arsenal.”
He continues, “I also got the privilege of training with Saenchai five times. I got to spar with him. I stayed there for two months and every trip I was there I got to train with him. I got to train with him every day, I got to spar with him every day, and it did help me develop my style a little bit. I learned a lot of tricks and all these maneuvers and things like that. Putting my mind at a higher level of thinking because of how creative he is. It definitely influenced my style. But, I’ve always been a fan of taekwondo, and I’ve never taken a taekwondo class but because of my athleticism and my God-given talent, I’m able to copy a lot of tawkwondo guys and add it to my arsenal. I watch a lot of guys from Korea and I follow some taekwondo pages on social media. I’m always looking up taekwondo moves on YouTube and if I like them I’ll incorporate them into my game and I’ll practice them on my own in the gym and I do them in the fight as well. I’m always throwing spin kicks and 360 roundhouse kicks. I like to entertain the crowd. That’s my main thing. I love to entertain the crowd. For me, when I fight, it’s all about going out there and performing in a fight where the crowd is on their feet, out of their chairs. I want to give them something to remember every time. A regular win doesn’t do it for me. I’m an entertainer when I fight. That’s what got me where I am today in my sport. That’s what gives me all these opportunities that I’ve got. To fight in Lumpee stadium multiple times, fighting on the King’s birthday. I’m always headlining events and main events and it’s because of my style. Win or lose, people want to see me fight and that’s because of the moves I bring into the ring.”
Whats next for your career goals?
It’s always important to have your goals defined. It keeps a fighter motivated and reminds them what all of their hard work and sacrifice is for. Omar Ahmed has the grandest of goals. “My next career goal is to win the IFKA Pro Muay Thai title which is coming out this week. My career goal is to become one of the best in the sport and become known around the world as one of the best. I want to be known on a global scale. I want all fighters and all martial arts fans to know who I am. That is the path I’m on right now and I’m trying to seek the best opportunities I can get on a platform where I can have a lot of viewers and spectators see me do my thing so I can gain my fans and show my skills to more people. I feel like the more people get to watch me, the more I will gain fans and followers. Everyone who watches me fight becomes a fan. If I can get an opportunity to fight on big promotions and be part of a very well known fight circuit, this will give my stardom that I’m looking for in the sport.”
So how will he get that platform? Ahmed plans to leverage the largest kickboxing organizations in the world. He has his eyes set on ONE Championship, Glory and Bellator.
Omar Ahmed says, “I would love to fight on one of the big promotions, ONE Championship, GLORY Kickboxing, Bellator Kickboxing. Obviously I want to get paid more money to fight. These are the promotions that pay good money. And I think that I’m on that level. I’ve been competing with these guys and that’s what I really would like to do and what I’ve been trying to do these days. Right now I’ve been taking it one fight at a time. You never know what happens. Maybe I can get signed to one of these big promotions after my next fight. If it doesn’t happen, I’m going to take whatever opportunities that come my way. Eventually I will reach those platforms because I am in my prime and I see myself doing this for at least ten more years and getting better at what I do in the next ten years day by day.”
What about MMA?
The burning question is always the same. “What about mixed martial arts?” Omar Ahmed thinks he has the chops to compete in the top promotions in the world, including the UFC.
“Mixed martial arts does interest me. I’m naturally good at wrestling. I have great reflexes and whenever I ever meet a guy who does jiu jitsu or wrestling in the gym I’m always like, ‘Hey man, let me see what you got.’ I’ve tapped out, believe it or not, black belts in jiu jitsu with natural athleticism and having an eye for the sport watching the fighters and their moves. I’ve always like wrestled just for fun. I’ve never been trained in it. But I have looked at some guys that are not athletic at all and he is a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu, I don’t see how he can tap me out. I have done it in front of many people at my gym all the time. I would definitely like to fight on a platform on the UFC if the opportunity presents itself. I would be good at wrestling and jiu jitsu and if I trained three to six months I would be more than ready to do MMA fights for sure.”
Good luck to Omar Ahmed tonight as he takes on Henry Lee at Friday Night Fights. You can catch the fight tonight on UFC FightPass.
Be sure to follow Omar Ahmed on Instagram to keep posted on his journey in martial arts!