Osamah Almarwai driven to win in Middle East homecoming at ONE 166: Qatar

By BJPENN.COM Staff - February 12, 2024

Osamah Almarwai will find himself in a must-win situation when he steps into the Circle at ONE 166: Qatar on March 1.

Osamah Almarwai and Cleber Sousa

On the historic card set to happen at Lusail Sports Arena, he goes up against Cleber Sousa in a flyweight submission grappling bout.

The upcoming live event holds special significance for Almarwai. It marks a homecoming for the first IBJJF Black Belt World Champion of Middle Eastern descent.

Having spent several years honing his skills in the United States, the Yemeni-Saudi Arabian sensation revisits his roots. He’s eager to display the fruits of his labor since his time away.

“I’m super excited to be competing in the Middle East for the first time since I became a black belt and since I won [IBJJF] Worlds,” he said.

“[I’m excited] to be competing, and to showcase my skills among the Middle Eastern fans.”

Almarwai is well aware of the high expectations surrounding his return to the region.

“In my head, there’s no way I’m going to lose in the Middle East. I mean, God willing, God knows what’s going to happen. But in my head, I’m doing everything I can to win,” he said.

As a pioneer of the sport, Almarwai acknowledges the weight of expectations on his shoulders. Fans from around the Middle East will travel to Qatar to watch him compete.

Rather than allowing this pressure to overwhelm him, Almarwai uses it as fuel to come out on top.

“I really, really want to win over there, especially now that I’m one of the biggest names in jiu-jitsu in the Middle East, and it’s the first event for ONE Championship [in Qatar]. It’s a huge opportunity for me. It is going to be televised on so many big networks,” he said.

Osamah Almarwai hopes to inspire next generation of Middle Eastern grapplers

Osamah Almarwai’s ambitions go beyond personal victory. He aspires to be a source of inspiration for aspiring grapplers in the Middle East.

“I just see myself just as a jiu-jitsu competitor. I didn’t know I had that influence. But when you get messages from people, I try to do my best to represent them. And I always motivate the people and the young up-and-comers from the Middle East,” he said.

“I always say if I could make it, you guys can make it.”


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