ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A professional Kurdish Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter from the United Kingdom has been given a title shot after a string of dominant performances, which includes a four-fight win streak.
Mario “Rudeboy” Saeed (12-4) will fight opponent Jake Blyth (9-1) on Sept. 21, 2019, in Swindon for the Raged Super Welterweight belt.
Saeed is on the back of a first-round knockout victory earlier this month against Patrick Blight and said he is in a confident mood heading into September’s bout.
“The guy I am fighting is a tough opponent, he’s a seasoned guy, so I’m looking forward to finishing him in the first round,” the Kurdish fighter told Kurdistan 24.
Blyth, who himself is in hot form with a nine-fight win streak, has fought current and former UFC fighters in the past. “I know the guy very well; I know how legit he is,” Saeed said, “but he will be wrong to underestimate me.”
The 28-year-old Kurd is considered a ground specialist with eight of his 11 victories coming via submissions. He is one of the only Kurds from Kurdistan who holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which indicates an expert level of skills in the fighting style.
Saeed began his fighting career as a boxer before moving on to kickboxing. Due to the rules in boxing and kickboxing, which prevented him from fighting his opponent on the ground, he decided to pursue MMA.
“I’m the first-ever Kurdish black belt, it took me 13 years to get it,” he told Kurdistan 24. “I’ve been fighting for a long time in professional Muay Thai (kickboxing) and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, now we’re taking the MMA game seriously.”
The Kurdish fighter revealed that victory in September would open the door for him to make his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut, one of his primary targets as an MMA fighter.
“After this fight, hopefully, the UFC calls me, and I get a contract. I just got to keep winning,” Saeed stated. The Kurdish fighter told Kurdistan 24 that his team spoke to Sean Shelby, the fight organizer for the UFC, who said that “they are watching us right now and want us to win one or two more fights.”
“When I KO the 9-1 guy [Blyth], then they will know I am legit,” Saeed affirmed. “I’m going to show the world.”
During his professional fighting career, the 28-year-old has trained with some notable UFC stars, including Jorge Masvidal – who recently set a new UFC record for the fastest knockout after his flying knee against Ben Askren at UFC 239 on July 6 – John Makdessi, Alexander Gustafsson, and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Saeed, who fights out of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, in the UK, always raises the Kurdistan flag after his wins. He told Kurdistan 24 he is proud of his Kurdish ethnicity.
“I represent Kurdistan. Nobody trains as hard as me. I do it because I love the sport and want to help the next generation.”