CAPE TOWN - Ghana’s UFC star, Abdul Razak Alhassan may have received the motivation he needs to get back to winning ways.
Following a horrible three-fight losing streak since July last year, a word from his six-year-old son ahead of tonight’s UFC Fight Night (Barboza vs Chikadze) seems to have not only encouraged the Middleweight/Welterweight fighter (10-4), but also made Abdul Razak realise that he is stronger than the challenges he has recently faced.
“These last few fights have been very hurtful to me, you know,” says Abdul Razak.
“I feel like I was at a certain place and all of a sudden everything just came crashing down. My son has been watching my fights, and it breaks my heart that he saw my last couple of fights.
“He was like ‘Dad, you have to win, you cannot be losing,’” says Abdul Razak who suffered two decision losses and a knockout recently prior to enjoying three KOs and TKOs between 2017 and 2018.
“I am surprised that my six-year-old was telling me that, it kind of hurt. He likes to go on YouTube and watch some of my fights, so I know it’s coming from a good place, because he wants to see his daddy win. So after he said that, I was like ‘I got you, son. Daddy will make you proud, InshaAllah.’”
Prior to the drop in performance, Abdul Razak was faced with a horrible situation which saw him being indicted on charges of raping two women. After pleading not guilty and maintaining his innocence, the man was eventually found not guilty on sexual assault charges.
That ordeal made a huge impact on the 36-year-old athlete’s life and career, causing him to be away from active competition for almost two years.
Once things “got back to normal”, the Ghanaian would return to the Octagon in hopes of picking up where he left off after finishing Niko Price in devastating fashion at UFC228, but that was not the case as a unanimous decision loss to Mounir Lazzez at UFC on ESPN (Kattar vs Ige) in July last year would be the onset of a soul-searching quest for Abdul Razak.
“With the three losses, I felt like there were so many things that went into it,” says Abdul Razak.
“In the beginning, it was more of an escape for the anger ... the anger I had pent-up inside of all the things that went wrong, the things that I went through. I wanted to release it,” he says looking back on his return in June 2020.
“But what you must remember is that through all those bad things, for almost two-and-a-half years, I never went to training. So when I say I was out of shape, I was badly out of shape and I was thinking that my anger and pain inside will carry me through wherever I go and I will just go in there and beat anybody up. That was my mentality going into the first fight (at Welterweight).
“My second fight, my weight was not good. The weight cut was horrible, I ended up suffering kidney failure, it was really horrible. I should not have taken that fight to begin with,” proclaims Abdul Razak who then suffered a knockout via Khaos Williams in November last year.
“My third fight (at Middleweight), I don't know, I kind of froze, it's hard to explain it, it's like when your mind starts going backward, everything starts becoming negative. And instead of me working my way back to the positive, I let my mind go to the negative,” says Abdul Razak who then copped another unanimous decision loss against Jacob Malkoun in April this year.
“I feel like I gave up on myself. But that is all part of learning and changing your perception on stuff. It’s all part of human growth. So I made a few changes, I moved my camp to Team Elevation in Colorado and I am getting my body and mind right now. I am slowly getting back to my old self and above and beyond my winning ways,” added the athlete who originally fights out of Fort Worth, Texas (Fortis MMA).
Abdul Razak headlines the prelim card of UFC Vegas35 tonight at the UFC Apex Centre in Las Vegas against UFC Middleweight veteran, Alessio Di Chirico.
Di Chirico stepped up to face Abdul Razak after the latter’s original opponent (Antonio Braga Neto) was removed from the card due to Covid-19 protocols.
Abdul Razak’s Middleweight bout takes place at 1am SAST. The main card will be available from 4am.
These fights will be made available on UFC Fight Pass and SuperSport.
* Full video interview available on the MzansiMMA YouTube channel.