For many MMA fighters, the beginning is always the toughest. Lots of people have a hard time finding a place to train to begin with, and, once they have it, finding an amateur bout or the first pro contests is not an easy task. This happens with athletes from traditional Mixed Martial Arts nations, such as the United States, Japan, or Brazil. Now, imagine if you have to join the movement that literally kicked off the sport within your country?
That’s what happened with BRAVE Combat Federation’s Mehmosh Raza, from Pakistan. After coming back from time abroad in Ireland, Mehmosh joined today’s renowned Team Fight Fortress, under the leadership of coaches Ali Sultan and Ehtisham Karim, the pioneers of MMA in the country.
“When I moved back to Pakistan, I started training MMA with Team Fight Fortress, with coach Ehtisham Karim and coach Ali Sultan”, said Raza, who now lives and trains in Shanghai, China. “They are a brilliant gym, I still have a great relationship with them. I always associate my roots with Team Fight Fortress and the coaches back home”.
“There was literally a smokers fight (boxing term to describe unsanctioned bouts) on a roof of a building or something. This was when there was no MMA in Pakistan”, he recalled. “It was really this or nothing, Bashir (Ahmad, an American-Pakistani MMA fighter) was the only one fighting internationally. And I was like ‘Yeah, let’s do this’, so I signed up with zero experience and they pitched me against this dude that they matched me up with. But that was when I knew I found what I wanted to do with my life”.
Mehmosh’s career came a long way since the rooftop fights. "The Renegade" got a dozen pro bouts under his belt when the opportunity of a lifetime presented itself: represent his home country in the first-ever international MMA fight night in the history of Pakistan. At BRAVE CF 17, in Lahore, Mehmosh Raza beat Arben Escayo with a 17-second submission, via guillotine choke, which got him a long-term deal with the fastest-growing MMA promotion in the world.
Even with a historic moment like this on his record and the chance to represent Pakistan worldwide, Mehmosh Raza still believes the best is yet to come. “Obviously there were things that happened in the past that defined me. But I feel like there are so many incoming stories, things I’m yet to achieve, like being the champion, which is gonna happen. As far as I’m concerned, in my martial arts career, it’s a lot of hard work so far but the best is yet to come”.