“My father wanted me to play football, but he quickly saw that it was not for me.
When I was little, I was a fan of Jean-Claude Van Damme and I watched all of his films.
When I saw him do his wide spread returns, I wanted to do the same.
»Yassine Belhadj, 30, was far from suspecting that he would realize his childhood dream.
The native of Montpellier, living in Seine-et-Marne, followed in the footsteps of his former idol by embarking on MMA (mixed martial arts) in 2012, at a time when the discipline was decried and banned in France.
This Friday evening (10 p.m., on RMC Sport 4), the man nicknamed "Crazy Legs" for his agility in the footwork will play his 9th fight at the famous Cage Warrior of Manchester in England, against the local fighter Jack Grant.
"A victory would be a first step towards the title of the category (-70 kg) then towards the UFC, the major league of MMA", projects the security officer to the RATP.
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Weight is done, shape is good See you tomorrow inchallah ———————————————————— #fight #mma #weightin #cagewarriors #manchester #fighter #lifestyle #picoftheday
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Obviously, he welcomed the recent legalization of MMA in France.
“It can open doors for us and allow us to be recognized as top athletes.
Before, MMA was left behind in the martial arts.
People did not know and asked:
what is this?
While it is especially not a fight.
Training partner of Gwladys Épangue for the Beijing Olympics
He did not hesitate to give up taekwondo, which he had been practicing since the age of 6 and in which he had a bright future.
The young Yassine left home at the age of 14 to join the France pole of Toulouse before joining Insep three years later.
The first French to win the title of world junior champion in 2006, before the European coronation the following year, participated in the preparation of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. He served in particular as a training partner for a certain Gwladys Épangue.
First licenses, future fights, categories: what awaits MMA
“I felt like I had been around in taekwondo, especially since the rules have changed and distorted my sport,” he believes.
I have been passionate about martial arts since I was little, and the discipline that brought them all together was MMA.
It was a small bet with myself.
When I started, there were no cages, no managers.
I left my mark in French taekwondo, I now hope to leave a small mark in MMA, ”he announces.
"I've never had so much trouble as for this fight"
“I have a nervously tiring pace of life between MMA and work.
All day long, I am in confrontation, even if I work in Val-de-Marne, which is not the worst of sectors.
Not to mention diets.
I have never had so much trouble as for this fight, because I had to lose 14 kg, me who am a big greedy, I am not well.
So the only time I can relax and disconnect is in front of manga and video games.
I am a small child, my wife laughs about it.
His days are indeed busy with training in the morning before taking up his post and then in the evening after taking off his RATP uniform.
When it is night, the room replaces the metro or the bus.
“This job is not a vocation, but it allows me to train alongside.
With this rhythm, you put your social life aside.
Fortunately, my wife Cynthia works in sports, she is the regional manager at Fitness Park.
She understands me and knows the sacrifices to be made.
It's important to have this support ”, appreciates the member of the Obyfight team, who has entrusted the management of his career to Fight Sport Management and his image to Rumblecom.
While waiting to set up his own structure after his career.
"I am giving myself another five years in MMA", specifies the one who will resume his studies at Insep to be able to open his own gym in Montpellier, specializing in MMA and physical preparation.
“I'm in my element in the gyms, where I've spent my life since I was little.
And I want to pass on my love of martial arts to the new generation.
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A role of big brother that he knows well to already play with his brothers, Yliane (15 years old) and Faycel (27 years old).
“They always looked to me as an example, and I made them go straight, work in school and play sports.
It avoids having bad company.
Five months ago, I lost my cousin, shot dead in Montpellier.
It makes you think, ”he reveals without wanting to go into detail on the circumstances of the drama.
One more reason to shine this Friday evening to pay tribute to him.