Abdul Azim Badakhshi – Igniting MMA in Two Countries
On the walls of Fort Siri, the coordinated chants of “LION” filled the room as the first round began. Bollywood stars Tiger Shroff and Disha Patani– who have a combined 84 million Instagram followers – sat on the edge of the cage in support of their man. “The Afghan Lion”, Abdul Azim Badakhshidid not disappoint the avid fans in attendance.
As MMA grows, it begins to appear in unexpected places. Iconic heroes are emerging from markets that have never before produced an athlete wearing 4 oz gloves. Judging by the event hosted by Matrix Fight Night in New Delhi on April 1, onlookers might assume that MMA is about to spill over all over India.
The man who carries the event, Badakhshi (13-3), is the highest ranked featherweight in South Asia by Tapology, and the second featherweight in the Middle East. Its unanimous decision wins Fabrice Oliveira in the main event of Matrix Fight Night 8, it was the first time he had won by anything other than a finish in his thirteen wins.
After the victory, he gave a nod to the combative zeal of his upbringing: “I come from Afghanistan. While my country is in critical condition, I wish to spread the fighting spirit of Afghanistan. I will continue to fight and make my nation proud. I also want to thank the Indian fans for showing me their support.”
Although Badakshi hails from the proud country of Afghanistan, he lives and trains in Mumbai at the MMA Matrix Fitness Center. According to his manager, he comes from nothing. Today, he has over 180,000 followers on Instagram. He has been fighting in India since his professional debut, rising to prominence in India’s founding promotion, the Super Fight League. Once SFL outgrew his talents, he took fights in ACB and Brave CF, as well as regional fights in his home country of Afghanistan.
Now on a winning streak and after a thrilling victory, Badakhshi is ready to take his game to the next level and fight for an American promotion this year. Carrying the backing of two great countries and a ton of talent to back him up, he would be a coveted addition to any roster.