Apart from skill, discipline, and talent, the athletes who compete in mixed martial arts (MMA) rely on confidence to help lead them to success.
Fortunately for Saudi Arabian featherweight Abdullah “The Reaper” Al-Qahtani, confidence isn’t something that he lacks, and he’s got quite a good reason to be self-assured.
The 25-year old Al-Qahtani boasts a 7-1 professional record, but more importantly, he’s undefeated in the Professional Fighters League (PFL) with a 2-0 record. Now, Al-Qahtani is getting ready to step into the biggest moment of his young MMA career, as he becomes one of the fighters on deck for the highly-anticipated PFL Champions vs. Bellator Champions card this coming February 24th, 2024.
Not only does Al-Qahtani have the chance to prove that he belongs in the PFL’s million-dollar Regular Season tournament, but he’ll also be competing in his home country. The PFL’s first offering for 2024 will take place at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh.
“I never thought that I would be fighting in my hometown, surrounded by my team and the people who loved watching me fight,” Al-Qahtani shared. “It is a huge honour for me”
“Inshallah, I will deliver an exciting performance for all the fans, just like in every fight I've had,” he continued.
While Al-Qahtani was the first fighter from The Kingdom to compete in the PFL, he wasn’t the first one from the Middle East. Either way, he hopes to continue to represent the region, and hopes that global promotions like the PFL can continue to provide platforms for other Middle Eastern fighters.
“Honestly, MMA is a relatively new sport in the Middle East, but it doesn't mean that we lack exceptional fighters here,” he explained. “It’s just that compared to fighters from other regions like Brazil, USA, etc., we have limited opportunities to showcase our skill sets on a global platform.”
“With a huge global promotion like PFL expanding into the region and providing us with opportunities, Inshallah, we hope to demonstrate to the world what we are truly capable of,” he added.
Al-Qahtani has done well in making the most of his opportunity on a global platform in the PFL, and plans to continue that trend in Riyadh, where he’ll be taking on India’s Edukondala “The Badger” Rao, who comes in with a 4-1 professional record.
Going back to that confidence we spoke of, Al-Qahtani says that in terms of MMA, there’s no fighter that he can pinpoint as an idol or hero.
He’d rather work to become that idol or hero.
“I don't have an MMA idol or hero that I look up to. Instead, I aspire to be the best version of myself in the cage.”
“In a way, you could say I aim to be the hero I look up to, myself,” he continued.
In the same vein, Al-Qahtani sees only one fighter as the number one on his list.
“I believe that I am the best of all time.”