Shajidul Haque

Shajidul Haque: Looking To Carry Bangladesh Into The UFC

It can be a daunting task to be the face of a nation in any aspect. MMA has been a growing sport across the nation since the UFC opened its doors with UFC 1 in 1993, 30-years-ago. Not known particularly for its contribution to combat sports, the nation of Bangladesh, one of the densest nations in the world, may be looking to make its push into the world of MMA. Cage Warriors flyweight champion Shajidul Haque will look to do just that for his nation.

Relocation and Finding Combat Sports

“I was born in Bangladesh, but my family moved to England when I was pretty young. Growing up I had always loved anything martial arts from Power Rangers to Jackie Chan movies, to boxers like Muhammad Ali. I first started boxing with friends in back lanes, not the smartest thing to do, but I started training in a club at aged 14. First with Kickboxing and Muay Thai then transitioned to MMA as it started growing. The sport is beginning to grow in Bangladesh, and I hope my success can help inspire more young kids to take up the sport,” Haque told MyMMANews.

Developing Into A Champion

After relocating to England, the training options opened up. Haque was able to eventually connect with Jordan Cooper, grappling coach at ACE MMA. Cooper is a multiple-time gold medalist in the British and Irish Open. Haque’s brother, Shamsul, has also been an important piece in not only his life, but this MMA career. Shamsul began his professional career before his brother, lending support from first-hand experience.

“Northeast England have some fantastic fighters and coaches, and over the years I have been fortunate to have some great teammates and meet lots of great coaches, specialist in different areas. I have picked up techniques, skills and knowledge from all of them, plus adding my own ideas to develop the unorthodox style I have now,” stated Haque. “The biggest influences in my career all the way from amateur to pro have been my brother Shamsul Haque and Grappling coach Jordan Cooper. Both have been with me pretty much since the start. They went from training partners to my coaches now. They guide almost every decision I make, from my training schedule, my fights, the game plan and everything in between.”

Paying His Dues

It was not an easy road for Haque to earn the top spot in Cage Warriors, but after nearly 10 years, the goal was reached. Haque made his Cage Warriors debut at Cage Warriors 52 in just his second professional bout. He would earn the victory and go 5-1 in six-straight Cage Warriors bouts. The future champion’s final Cage Warriors matchup during this run would come in September 2020. Over the next two years, Haque would have an absence from Cage Warriors, but remained very active coaching and going 4-0 in other promotions. Finally, and long overdue, Haque would get his title matchup against a man he had previously beaten, Sam Creasey, at Cage Warriors 148 in December 2022.

“Around this time, I took up my coaching role a lot more seriously, my current students at ACE MMA have been a huge part of my recent success. They are all doing exceptionally well in the amateur circuit, I have multiple Amateur Champions and although I coach them, their improvements and success has pushed me to step up my game and become a World Champion myself. Winning the belt was a bunch of mixed emotions,” Haque stated.  “Of course, I was very happy but also frustrated it took so long to get the opportunity, I already beat Sam Creasey years ago and called for the rematch multiple times but was denied it. I have believed I was a World Champion for many years I just needed the Belt for everyone else to believe it.”

The King of Cage Warriors and The Future

As of now, Haque is set to defend his flyweight championship at Cage Warriors 158, on July 29, 2023. The challenger will be the Italian Michele Martignoni, who will have the home nation of Italy behind him. Martignoni is 3-1 in Cage Warriors, and this should serve as one of the best main events of 2023. The ultimate goal lies in making a statement on the biggest MMA stage of all.

“I want to make history becoming the first Bangladeshi Born fighter in the UFC. Becoming CW World Champion has already inspired a lot of young people in the country, I have received a lot of great messages. However, I believe if I get to the UFC, it will make a much bigger impact and difference, more young Bangladeshi athletes will believe in themselves, and it will boost the development of the sport in the country. I would also just like also give a shoutout to my sponsors for my upcoming fight July 29th on CW158. They have helped me with huge costs in this training camp and trip to Rome. Spice Lounge Durham, Northeast Ear Clinic, N&R Joinery Services, Fulwell Property Services, and Hardlife Fightwear,” stated Haque.



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