Born to a Lebanese father who also happens to be a Taekwondo practitioner, Saffiedine’s move into MMA might not come as a surprise to many. Unknown to most though is a little anecdote on who made the young Tarec get into martial arts seriously and eventually turn Pro.
That was a certain Kiichi Miyazawa.
You might be asking yourself who Kiichi is? Well, like Tarec he started training martial arts at an early age and was also taught by his father Seiko Miyazawa. Unlike Tarec however, Kiichi is a cartoon character form a Japanese Manga series.
“I started with Taekwondo when I was young with my father. But it was because of an MMA Manga comic that I got into Shihaishinkai Karate which is really close to MMA”
Going on to achieving black belt by 16, Tarec then fought in a range of different styles including Kung Fu, Muay Thai, Karate and grappling before eventually fighting his first MMA pro fight in 2006. Surprisingly for someone so young Tarec learnt all the techniques very quickly and progressed fast! A feature of his that would eventually lead to one of his trainers nicknaming him “sponge”.
Who would have thought that 7 years later at the age of 26 he would be the first Lebanese/Belgian to hold an MMA title after defeating Nate Marquardt on the final show of Strikeforce, an achievement her is very proud of. Tarec put on such a stellar display of kicking the absolute life out of Marquardt’s leg that left is looking a bit more like lasagna than the limb of a Strikeforce Champion. Google seems to agree! When you try to search for ‘Marquardt’ on the site one of the suggested auto-complete terms (in fact the 2nd one) is ‘Leg’.
I guess that’s good! LOL. People were focused on his leg but my right foot hurt for a week after
Saffiedine is one of the Strikeforce fighters that have made the switch over to the UFC following the formers closure. A welterweight, he joins arguably the most stacked division in the UFC along the likes of Hendricks, Condit, Ellenberger, McDonald, Diaz and St Pierre to name but a few. Nerves? Not really. Especially when you train on a daily basis with none other than Dan Hernderson! “It’s awesome. Dan is a great guy; he makes himself available to help everybody at the gym”
His next fight is against Robbie Lawler on the main card of UFC on Fox 8 which takes place on the 27th of July.Lawler as a big-time power-puncher and Saffiedine as a crafty technician, this stand up war will be special no doubt ! After this fight we might see Tarec in our part of the world.
I would love to visit Lebanon. Its been a while I haven’t been there and I would love to go back. I still have family in Beirut and in Tyre. The last time I went to Lebanon I was 15 so it has been a while