Unified MMA 23’s Sabah Fadai inspired by Kajan Johnson ahead of his May 29th title fight

61f9e7fc98b11beda1f7427d58379565Looking for his third win in a row, Canadian Sabah Fadai returns to action May 29th when he battles 25-year old Parwez Ghulam in the main event of Unified MMA 23 in Edmonton, Alberta. Last time Fadai spoke to MMAOddsBreaker, he was on route to Las Vegas for the Season 22 tryouts of The Ultimate Fighter. This was the Chilliwack B.C. native’s second attempt on making the UFC reality show, after making it to the final interview process for TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia the year before. Unfortunately yet again, things didn’t go his way and Fadai didn’t hold back on his disappointment in the selection process. “It was actually a lot different than the last time I went.” Fadai told MMAOddsBreaker. “You can see the politics as you enter the room.  Now if anything, it’s about who know not what you know. A lot of guys are getting pushed through the later stages because of who they knew. I just don’t understand how I could go all the way through to the final stages [on TUF Nations] and be one of the last people who hey called for. Then this time around get cut after the first round after 90 seconds of grappling. That being said I don’t think I’m ever going to try out again. It’s just a toss-up between me and the next guy.” It wasn’t all bad news for Fadai however, shortly after the tryouts his manager Pat Wilson informed him that he would be challenging Ghulam for his Unified featherweight championship. Earning this title opportunity came as a surprise for the Four Direction Martial Arts product. “I have no idea [how I earned this title shot]” Fadai laughed. “I was looking at all the cards online. Parwez Ghulam was fighting Matthew Spisak for the title. Then next thing I know I get a call from my manger saying May 29th [I’m] fighting for the title.  I guess Matt got injured and I got thrown in there. I’m very happy, I changed a lot of things in my camp. I feel great, it’s been an amazing camp.” Unlike previous training camps, Fadai has been putting in time at different gyms ahead of his Unified MMA debut. While he’s still training at his home gym Four Directions MMA, he’s also been splitting time at Revolution MMA with ONE bantamweight champion  Bibiano Fernandes. “I’ve been doing a lot of cross training with other gyms. Mainly with Bibiano [Fernandes]. I think it’s very important for us fighters to keep changing the atmosphere, the training parnters, the energy it’s very important.  Getting a good crew of guys who are just after the same thing. Like Bibiano is a world champion, you can’t go wrong training with a guy like that. He’s a great [motivator] to train with. Every day I see him he’s always got this positive energy around him, his aura is naturally [contagious]. It’s good to [train with] somebody like that. Every single day you take away something awesome and new.” Fadai will be heading into enemy territory on May 29th as Edmonton native Ghulam will have the hometown crowd on his side. Despite having more experience, the 29-year old isn’t underestimating his opponents skillset. “At the end of the day I don’t think records matter, but experience does come into play. He’s a champ and he’s been training hard for sure. I don’t know where he trains out of or who he trains with. I’m after one thing and that the win and he’s in my way unfortunately. I’m ready for anything really, I don’t really know too much about him to be honest. [He’s] more of striker guy but he’s got a lot of good jiu-jitsu. I’m ready everywhere, because I don’t have much footage on him. I have to dictate the fight for him.” Before this featherweight showdown takes place in the cage, these two featherweight stand outs have already engaged in some verbal sparring over social media. But as the WSOF veteran Fadai points out, it’s nothing personal on his end. “I have nothing against him; a lot of people think I’m trash talking him on Facebook or Twitter. I’m not trash talking, I’m just stating what I believe and I he can do the same. I was never mouthy; he started swearing and trash talking. I was just simply stating that I’m going to go there and take the title. I was never being rude or disrespectful. I don’t care; I’m just going in there and be myself. I think [winning a] championship title is going to solidify my name in the Top 10 in Canada. That’s what I’m looking for really and I think the title will do that for me.” An extra boost of motivation for Fadai going into this matchup was seeing his good friend and current UFC lightweight fighter Kajan Johnson earning his first official UFC victory at UFC Fight Night 66 in Manila. The win for Johnson was a long time coming, as the Canadian started his professional MMA career in 2002. Fadai admitted, seeing “Rajan” come out with the win last week has inspired him ahead of this championship fight. “It’s really nice to see Kajan have his hand raised in the UFC. It’s not necessarily just the win; he’s gone through so much to get there, which makes it so much more rewarding for him. Nobody else in the world is going to know how it feels for him. I’m kind of going through the same battles in life. My motto every day now is “Never Give Up.” I’m 29 years old, I need to be rewarded for all my hard work. Right now it doesn’t seem so promising [but] I just keep pushing forward. That win for Kajan really inspired me to keep going and never give up. I’m sure it was the same for him because he had to overcome a lot of obstacles to get that win.” You can follow Sabah on Twitter @SabahFadai and he’d like to thank his team at RISE Management. You can listen to the full audio of the interview on Episode 106 of The Parting Shot Podcast. 

Written by James Lynch

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