DALLAS – Hamdy Abdelwahab hopes his successful octagon debut at UFC 277 has an impact on Egyptian MMA.
Abdelwahab (4-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Egypt’s first UFC fighter, defeated Don’Tale Mayes by split decision this past Saturday at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
The heavyweight is happy to be an example for young kids in his home country and felt the love from his people after putting on a solid showing to snap Mayes’ winning streak.
“I feel great,” Abdelwahab told reporters at his UFC 277 post-fight news conference. “I’m representing 100 million people. You cannot imagine how many people they fly from Egypt to Dallas to watch the fight. It’s 5 in the morning right now in Egypt – people are still awake. They’re still watching the fights on the internet and they’re supporting me. That’s how I have to pay them back – to get them the win and make them proud of one of them becoming a UFC fighter and show them we can do it. We’re Arab – we can do it.
“Now people will start to know what MMA is. There’s one of them, one of their family representing them on the biggest stage in the world. I think I’ll be a big idol for a lot of kids, a lot of people supporting me, watching me tonight. I’m so happy to be doing this. I’m not just fighting for myself, I fight for a lot of people.”
Abdelwahab has had a busy schedule in 2022 with four fights already, but he said there would be no better way for him to cap off his big year than a fight at UFC 280, which takes place Oct. 22 in Abu Dhabi.
“I would love to fight in Abu Dhabi,” Abdelwahab said. “I have a very big Arab community now behind me. You have no idea how many people start texting me. I have no idea who these people are. But yes, I would love to. I promise. Just let me know. Now I have a big time to get ready. If I’m ready for that fight, I promise you I knock him out in the first round. First couple of seconds in the fight.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 277.