Hafeni Nafuka may catch the attention of domestic fans with his name, but he also impressed with his first performance on the Oktagon. Right from the start, the 19-year-old talent defeated the talented Peter Gabal. In an interview with RUIK, he spoke about his ambitions and his path to MMA.
Nafuka praises the atmosphere at the tournament after the win
Peter Gabal is still one of the biggest Czech talents. Still only 24 years old, the fighter doesn’t have it easy though, as he faced other interesting talents in the Octagon. He was defeated by Dawid Kareta and Roman Paulus.
In his last fight in Liberec, he was the favourite against an unknown 19-year-old German talent. Hafeni Nafuka was the underdog, after all he has much less experience and he certainly didn’t measure up to the names Gabal faced.
It didn’t show in the fight though, and Nafuka’s excellent grappling was able to torment his opponent enough to end him with a well-grappled guillotine in the second round. “I have nothing but good feelings about it, but there’s still a long way to go,” he dismisses the complacency in an interview with RUIK.
We’ve seen virtually nothing of Nafuka’s stance. He’s good on the ground, though. “That was exactly my plan. I didn’t want to give him any air to breathe. I thought he would have worse grappling, but other than that he didn’t really surprise me with anything,” he evaluates the fight.
“I had fun, everything went exactly as I planned it. The atmosphere that the fans in Liberec created was crazy. I’ve never experienced anything like it,” added Nafuka.
He was in a refugee camp, now Nafuka is living his dream
Hafeni Nafuka has had an interesting and difficult life story. When we asked him to introduce himself a little more to the fans, he answered clearly, ” I have already introduced myself to the fans in the cage. I like to be around people and I like to have fun.”
But then he elaborated on his answer a little bit, ” I was born in Germany, but when I was 3 years old we returned to Namibia where my family is from. After four years we moved back to Germany and lived in a refugee camp before we were moved to an asylum. I’ve had a hard time, but now I’m living my dream.”
And how did he get into MMA? Mainly through grappling, which he started at the age of 12 in the city of Reims, specifically at the Fight Fusion Gym. He fell in love with it immediately. The 19-year-old talent started with mixed martial arts four years ago, but has only been seriously involved in it for a year.
I’m going to be a champion! With Octagon, we are the future of European MMA
With his victory over Gabal, Hafeni Nafuka made an impression on the local scene. At 19 years of age, and with such a short time in MMA, it was an incredible feat. This is undoubtedly a kid with a lot of potential.
However, he doesn’t have a name in mind for who he wants to fight. But he’s clear about one thing. “I don’t care who my opponent is, but get your pillows ready and be prepared, the Namibian nightmare is coming!”
In time, he might fight in the welterweight division, but for now he wants to focus on the lightweight division where he has only one goal. “I’m going to become a champion. The Octagon is a big organization. It’s an honor for me to be a part of it. Like me, the Octagon is the future of European MMA. We’re a great fit,” Nafuka let slip.
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