ONE Championship is set for its U.S. debut on May 5, and three phenomenal flyweight title tilts will headline the exciting event. One of those will feature Mikey Musumeci putting the ONE Flyweight Submission Grappling World Championship on the line against Osamah Almarwai.
Almarwai’s path to the global stage has come quickly with a fast rise in the sport, but his foundation for success was molded, in part, by his parents. Born in Saudi Arabia to Yemeni parents, Almarwai was focused on school and believes that has helped him in his submission grappling career.
“I think that helped me a lot in terms of discipline with jiu-jitsu because I was very disciplined in school. And vice versa, jiu-jitsu helped me with school and finishing my engineering degree because I was trying to get schoolwork done so that I could train. On the weekend, I would study and try to do all my homework so I could train during the week,” Almarwai told ONE.
As a teen, Almarwai followed his brother into the world of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. His parents supported his efforts on the canvas, and his father continues to be a pillar of support today. But his focus was never on moving up to the next belt. He simply wanted to compete. When he got a taste of the elite levels during a camp at Atos Jiu-Jitsu Academy, Almarwai’s interest was sparked in chasing greatness.
“My first camp at Atos was the ADCC camp in 2019. It was a very tough camp. So I was like, ‘Why can’t I win a World Championship if I’m training with the best? It doesn’t get harder than this.’ I was telling myself it doesn’t get harder than Atos,” said Almarwai.
The Yemeni’s knack for submissions saw him explode to the top of the sport. He would capture the 2021 IBJJF No-Gi World Championship and be awarded his black belt. But he soon learned that staying at the top is harder than getting there.
After some setbacks, his team at Atos was there to help build him back up.
“I remember the [IBBJF] Gi Worlds. I think I got third place after winning No-Gi Worlds as a brown belt. And it was hard, man, because I’m at the top. How did I lose? And that’s what’s great about Atos. You have people who’ve been through the process,” said the flyweight grappler.
“We have [ADCC World Champion] Kaynan Duarte, we have the Ruotolos, you have Professor [Andre] Galvao. We have so many top-level guys, and you talk to them, and they’re like, ‘This is normal for an athlete. You always go up and down, but you do your best.’ I just overcame that and kept competing as a black belt.”
Ahead of ONE Fight Night 10, Almarwai is also taking pride in representing the Middle East. With all of his success, Almarwai is becoming a beacon of pride for the region and a source of inspiration for future generations of grapplers. That impact will only get greater by stepping onto the global stage of ONE on Prime Video.
“It’s a lot of pressure on my shoulders because I’m kind of the only high-level black belt who is representing the Middle East at the highest level. But I’m also super proud of it. It motivates me every day, especially when I see the messages,” said Almarwai.
“Some people message me and show me their kids doing jiu-jitsu, and they’re like, ‘Hey, my kid is doing jiu-jitsu. I’m from Yemen.’ Or, ‘I’m from Saudi,’ or, ‘I’m from the UAE.’ And it’s very, very motivating and inspiring.”
That is why the Saudi native is not taking this chance for granted. He makes his ONE debut on one of the biggest cards of the year, against a true superstar of the sport, with a chance for a World Title. It is a massive opportunity for Almarwai inside and outside of the Circle.
“It’s really an honor to compete against him [Musumeci]. This is a very big opportunity to showcase my skills, and I’m very, very, very excited, man.”
ONE Fight Night 10 airs live and free on Prime Video on Friday, May 5, at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. EST to all Amazon Prime members in the U.S. and Canada. Limited tickets are still available via Axs.com.
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Mixed martial arts, Grappling, Mma news, One championship
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