Barking MMA star Sonmez is keen to progress on to the world stage with UFC career
- Credit: Archant
Barking mixed martial arts fighter Emrah Sonmez is hoping to break into UFC in his next two major fights.
The 25-year-old is due to fight in the featherweight division at the O2 Indigo Arena under the Cage Warriors promotion on March 24, in front of the BT Sport cameras.
Sonmaz, who recently became the double champion under the British Challenge Mixed Martial Arts promotion at featherweight and lightweight divisions, is on the radar of senior matchmakers – Sean Shelby and Rich Chou – and hoping to make it to the top of the sport.
“It would be like a dream come true, my whole life I’ve been waiting to compete in the world’s highest, at an elite level worldwide,” he said.
“I’m nearly there and this could be the breakthrough fight to get there. If I can make it ten wins in a row that would be perfect and it would give me a big opportunity to get into UFC.”
The Legion Wrestling Club member, who trains twice a day six times a week, has won nine of his 10 professional fights to date and will be looking to keep adding to that total in the coming year.
The former Barking Abbey School pupil will also be taking on his first fight abroad as he heads to Milan for a world title bout at the Venatour Fighting Championship in May and admits he is delighted to have the opportunity.
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“I didn’t expect it, the opportunity came out of the blue really, I’ve been fighting regularly and getting noticed on the MMA scene,” added Sonmez.
“It’s very rare, but we got offered it and had to accept it. It’s my first fight outside of the UK and it’s going to be televised, so it’s quite big, I’m really excited to be on the world stage now.”
Sonmez, who grew up on the Harts Lane Estate in Barking, turned professional at the age of 21 and revealed how it all started.
He said: “I used to train kickboxing and one day my coach said ‘do you want to try MMA?’ This is when it was new on the scene, I was about 17 and I thought ‘why not?’
“I did about two weeks of training and then had my first amateur fight. I won with a knockout and since then I’ve been fighting and the last four years I’ve been professional. I’m starting to get recognised.”