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Exclusive | Interview with UAE’s Zayed Alkatheeri ahead of IBJJF Worlds 2023

Meet Zayed Alkatheeri, a force to be reckoned with in the world of jiu-jitsu. Hailing from the United Arab Emirates. This outstanding athlete will soon be competing in the IBJJF Worlds 2023 which kicks off on June 1.

Zayed Alkatheeri is a true force in the black belt division. Zayed will be competing in the rooster weight category. Leaving no stone unturned as he vies for victory at IBJJF Worlds 2023. This event is hosted in Long Beach, California taking place June 1-4.

Zayed Alkatheeri

Zayed Alkatheeri has earned his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under the esteemed guidance of coach Ribamar Santiago. Since then, he has shattered barriers and made history as the first Emirati to clinch a gold medal at the renowned International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation Pan American Championship.

Zayed’s journey to greatness can be traced through his captivating performances on the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Pro Tour circuit. This is an esteemed platform where he was able to showcase his skills. Even before attaining his black belt, Zayed Alkatheeri had already left an indelible mark by conquering the World Pro and Grand Slam events. His winning streak continued as he transitioned to the pro level. Then, he was able to solidify his reputation as one of the top rooster weight athletes in the sport.

IBJJF Worlds 2023

Zayed Alkatheeri’s dedication, talent, and remarkable achievements have not only elevated him to the pinnacle of jiu-jitsu but have also paved the way for future Emirati athletes to strive for greatness. With each victory, Zayed continues to inspire and prove that hard work knows no boundaries.

Interview with Zayed Alkatheeri

Ahead of the IBJJF Worlds 2023, Tim Wheaton of was luck enough to sit down with Zayed Alkatheeri for an exclusive interview.

Congratulations on capturing 1st Place IBJJF Pan Championship. What does capturing this title mean to you?

It’s mean to me a lot for my rookie year as a black belt it’s also my biggest achievement since I started jiu jitsu and this win inspire me to train even harder to always keep on the top level

You’re the first Emirati to capture the ADWPJJC, you’re creating quite a legacy already, ultimately what is your goal? What does it mean to you representing the UAE on the worlds stage?

Fighting representing the values ​​of the UAE is something that inspires and motivates me. Being the first Emarati to win a Black Belt medal at ADWPJJC event makes me very happy and proud, And that make me so motivated to for the worlds.

My feeling of representing the UAE in this major JJ event and winning the gold was incredible. Very proud to be able to represent my country with a good performance.

The Past

Tell us about your origin in Grappling, how did you start in the sport?

In the UAE, with the support of His Highness Sheick Mohammed bin Zayed, the biggest JJ project on the planet takes place. I discovered Jiu-Jitsu in September 2017, invited by friends to try a class at the school, I liked it and after 2 weeks I went to the UAEJJF Training Center, where I met Professor Ribamar Santiago, who taught me from white to black belt and that until today we work together and he is part of this success. Jiu-Jitsu has been my life since 2017.

Coming into IBJJF, how’s the preparation coming along? What’s your prediction for the IBJJF?

This is my first year to fight in IBJJF competitions It’s really incredible to fight there. I intend to work hard to repeat this good result at the IBJJF Worlds.
It won’t be easy, but I will work with my team to achieve my best performance in this event.

The Future

Were there any athletes you looked up who inspired you in MMA?

Khabib [Nurmagomedov] he inspired me a lot.

Where do you see yourself in five years and ten years?

I’m seeing my self in 10 years one of the best jiu jitsu fighter with big titles inshallah.

Do you have any advice for others entering this sport?

Work smart and hard, study, dedication, resilience and sacrifice, there are no shortcuts.

Thank you so much for your time and best of luck this week, Zayed Alkatheeri.

About the author

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Timothy Wheaton is a combat sports writer who covers MMA, Kickboxing, and Muay Thai. He has been an avid follower of these sports since 2005. Tim has also covered the UFC, Bellator and GLORY Kickboxing events live and in-person.

Tim also works with a host of other media sites such as Calf Kick Sports, Sportskeeda MMA, Low Kick MMA, Vecht Sport Info, Fighters First, and Beyond Kickboxing. Tim is is the authority on kickboxing and MMA journalist who has covered K-1, PRIDE FC, UFC, GLORY Kickboxing, Bellator, ONE Championship, and plenty more.

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