NEWS: Erdington’s Mo ‘Terminator’ Zubair wins MMA professional debut

Pics supplied by Mo Zubair

An Erdington MMA fighter has begun the long road to international UFC glory with the backing of world champion Leon Edwards.

Mo Zubair spent five years in the amateur MMA ranks and entered the professional arena by winning his bout in Wolverhampton on 2 March in spectacular fashion.

The 23-year-old has trained with fellow Erdingtonian Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards, who proved to every fighter in the UK it was possible to win world titles without being trained in America.

Mo told Erdington Local: “Leon is a big inspiration to me, he has been really supportive. He has let me join him in training camps and join him on the circuit.

“He proves what can be achieved. We are alike, we both came from the streets and just turned up to the gym and changed our lives.”

Mo first began contact sports with a visit to Tyburn Boxing Club as a child. He loved the smells, sounds, and sense of belonging that boxing could bring.

However, like many boxers, fighters, and fans alike, Mo had his head turned by MMA – Mixed Martial Arts. And in Erdington, the catalyst was the popular Ultimate Training Centre (UTC) gym at the old Blockbuster building on the High Street. UTC was the first in the region to have a full size octagon and quickly became a magnet for combat sports athletes from across Birmingham.

Eventually, after being forced to vacate the old premises and several false dawns, UTC left Erdington with its talented trainers scattering to the winds – until a group of trainers began Team Renegade, at a purpose built gym in Northfield.

The rising stars of the Erdington fight scene were Leon Edwards and his brother fighter Fabian, and they followed their trainers to Team Renegade in Northfield. American UFC experts and fighters mocked the facilities and quality of coaching in the UK, let alone Birmingham.

However, Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards stuck with his training team and recorded one of the greatest knockout finishes in sporting history – clinching the welterweight championship by knocking out champion Kamaru Usman in the final seconds of the bout, whilst losing on every judge’s card.

The gym shot to global fame when Joe Rogan showed the new champion a clip of a live video of the gym celebrating back home. Mo said: “I was in the room that night, it was incredible, life changing. I know want to be fighting in the UFC just like Leon. Because of his success there are some UFC fighters training at Team Renegade and West Midlands has become a real hotbed of MMA.”

After winning the biggest amateur competitions possible, including Cage Warriors and Gladiator UK, Mo turned professional on the advice of Team Renegade.

He said: “You can’t just turn professional, you have to be ready and I think I am.

“I am coming up to six years as an amateur so it’s time. I started in small shows and ended up winning the biggest amateur events in the country.”

As an amateur, Mo fought as a flyweight but has begun his tilt at professional glory as a bantamweight.

Fighting on the Golden Ticket Promotions bill at KK’s Steel Hangar in Wolverhampton, Mo won his first professional victory in early March – facing off against Nestor Santana, who already had six professional MMA fights before finished in the first round.

Former John Wilmott School pupil Mo said: “I won with a first round corner stoppage which is a great way to start my professional career. My manager and trainer are just weighing offers and options.”

He added: “I train twice a day, I go home, and do the same the next day. I don’t go to any nightclubs, or any of that. I want to fight in the UFC. That is where the action is and I will not settle for anything less, it is the Premier League of MMA.

“And it would be great to have two fighters from Erdington as champions. It can be done.”

To follow Mo ‘Terminator’ Zubair on Instagram visit www.instagram.com/mozubairmma