MMA: Lina Fayad, Jordanian who dreams of UFC

During training, Lina Fayad continues to punch and kick the wire cage. Brave with the weight of tradition, this Jordanian dreams of winning the UFC, MMA, the largest mixed martial arts organization.

“When a man sets a goal, nothing can stop him from achieving it,” said the 33-year-old woman at her training camp in Nicosia, the capital of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, whose nickname “The Fires”

In many conservative societies in the Middle East, women are almost unfamiliar with the sport, which is considered reserved for men.

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“When I started, I heard a lot of criticism and it continues, but it doesn’t matter to me because I want to fulfill my dream of reaching the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship),” he told AFP.

“There were a lot of obstacles in my way (…) I was kicked out of the sports club because I was a girl and the men refused to fight me,” the 32-year-old athlete added.

With long brown hair, short size and swollen muscles, the young woman is the only person in her conservative Jordan to practice the sport.

“I often hear that I’m a lioness in a cage, and it’s true, I’m not afraid.”

Encouraged by his father, a boxer, he entered the world of martial arts at the age of 10 and practiced taekwondo from the age of 12, then kickboxed and wrestled and moved on to other disciplines.

Jordanian Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) athlete Lina Fayad trains at a gymnasium in the Cypriot capital Nicosia on May 18, 2022. (Credit: Roy AISS / AFP)

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“I won three gold medals in kickboxing at the Arab Championships and one gold medal at the Muay Thai World Championships,” he said.

She switched to MMA in 2017, winning two of the three fights she has competed since.

But in addition to her sporting achievements, Lina Fayad wants to send a message to Jordanian women.

“I get a lot of good comments from women and they are really inspired to see me. I feel kind of responsible because I want to prove that Arab women can achieve their goals. A

“I wouldn’t be happy if I listened to the critics and was a housewife. I want to take advantage of the gift God has given me to do more. A

In the halls where she trains and supervises fighting in Nicosia, Lina Fayyad is preparing for her next fight scheduled for June in Limassol, although her participation remains uncertain due to recent fractures in both her legs.

Even after her retirement, Lina Fayad wants to continue practicing a sport, but probably wants to engage in a sport more suitable for her age, such as Jiujitsu. “I will stop when I grow old. A

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