In a historic turn of events for the world of mixed martial arts, Dubai-based athlete Mohammed Yahya, at the age of 29, is poised to etch his name into the annals of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). As the first Emirati fighter to step onto the octagon, Yahya’s journey is a testament to dreams, dedication, and sheer determination.
With his signing to the UFC, Yahya’s debut bout is slated for UFC 294, a momentous event set to unfold at the prestigious Etihad Arena on October 21. While his opponent, American Trevor Peek, awaits confirmation from the UFC, the anticipation for this historic match is palpable.
Yahya’s ascent to the UFC has been nothing short of extraordinary. His roots trace back to his birth in Oxford, England, to an Emirati father and an English mother. At the age of one, he embarked on a life-changing journey to Dubai, where his passion for mixed martial arts was ignited at the tender age of 14. From there, he ventured into jiu-jitsu and kickboxing, achieving an impressive amateur record of 22-0 in the latter.
Debuting as an amateur MMA fighter in 2012, Yahya swiftly gained recognition, eventually signing with the renowned regional promotion, Desert Force. With four victories in five fights, he earned his stripes in Bellator, notching a win and a loss. In 2019, he made a significant leap, signing with UAE Warriors.
Within UAE Warriors, Yahya’s star continued to rise. Winning seven of eight bouts, he clinched the coveted title of lightweight Arabian champion. He proudly defended his title three times, solidifying his reputation as a formidable fighter in the MMA arena.
Yahya’s latest triumph came in February with a unanimous decision victory against Souhil Tahiri, bolstering his professional record to 12-3. Now, riding high on a five-fight win streak, he trains at TK MMA Fit gym in Media City, under the expert guidance of gym founder Tam Khan.
This momentous opportunity for Yahya wouldn’t have been possible without the unwavering support of key figures, including the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT), Abdulmunam Al Hashemi, chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation and Palm Sports, and his manager. Yahya is resolute in his mission to not only win but also to deliver the best performance of his career, representing not just the UAE but the entire Arab region.
UFC 294 signifies the UFC’s triumphant return to Abu Dhabi after a year-long hiatus. This event is a pivotal part of the Abu Dhabi Showdown Week, a week-long extravaganza filled with exciting events and activities. With a headlining rematch between lightweight champion Islam Makhachev and former belt-holder Charles Oliveira, and thrilling bouts featuring fighters like Khamzat Chimaev and Paulo Costa, this event promises to be a spectacle like no other.