Afghan star, Parwiz Arabzai, continues his journey at Hexagone MMA 6

We all admire the rags-to-riches stories of the fighters who’ve made it to the pinnacle of MMA, but few have a tale quite as astonishing as Parwiz Arabzai.

Born in Afghanistan, the path to glory was never going to be easy for the 24-year-old. While many children brought up in the Western world enjoy the luxury of relative safety, those living in a warzone aren’t afforded the same luxury. Arabzai grew up in undeniably difficult circumstances, but in a testament to his unrelenting self-belief, he used his tough upbringing to fuel his incredible rise to the top of his sport.

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Like many immigrants, while still just a teenager, he escaped in search of a better life. But securing freedom from his war-torn country came with complications.

In a recent interview, he recalled: “When I was 16, I left my family, I left alone, in a truck. We illegally passed through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey… I was even in jail in Bulgaria. It would take too long to tell you the whole story. It was like a movie.”

In 2017, after a year of travelling, he eventually found safety in France. But just because he was away from the violence, it didn’t mean his fight for a better life was over. Without his family by his side, Arabzai took the advice of an internet friend and headed to Paris.

However, he struggled to adapt to life in the French capital and found himself homeless.

The prospect remembered: “I slept outside for a few weeks, and then I went to a shelter.”

And while this level of adversity would break even the sturdiest of men, A resilient Arabzai remained hopeful, in the knowledge that a life-altering moment was just around the corner.

Eventually, he received his papers, and in an attempt to improve his fitness, he asked his social worker to find him a gym.

And in that moment, his life changed forever.

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Parwiz Arabzai begins his MMA journey

With just a small amount of wrestling, practised outside with friends in the streets of Kabul, the wide-eyed young man wandered into Free Fight Academy. And under the guidance of Mathieu Nicourt, he unlocked an incredible skillset.

Despite his lack of experience, Arabzai showed instant potential, with all facets of his game evolving at an incredible rate. Consequently, he embarked on his amateur career in 2019 and accumulated a 5-1 record, before turning professional two years later.

In a shock result, he lost his debut via a first-round KO. But having lived through so much hardship, Arabzai wasn’t about to give up on his dream. He got right back on the horse, winning his next four outings before securing a place on Hexagone MMA 5.

Ultimately, he fell short to Polish grappler, Marcin Zembala. But in just two weeks’ time, he’ll make his combeack in the promotion’s return to the French capital.

On January 22, at Le Zénith in Paris, the future star will make his way to the cage in front of 6800 spectators at Hexagone MMA 6. And with the sport being technically illegal in the country until 2020, the fans are desperate for the fights to deliver. Therefore, Arabzai knows he has to make a statement.

The French citizen claimed: “I really trust my fists. I know that if my opponent takes one, he’ll be knocked out. Recently, my mentality has really evolved, I definitely want to finish my fights, and I know I can.”

Parwiz Arabzai wants to win for his family

Throughout his incredible life, Arabzai’s developed an unrivalled sense of determination, a will to win unmatched by any opponent. And while he fights for glory, his ultimate aim is to make those back home proud.

He claimed: “I haven’t been back to Afghanistan since 2017. I miss my country, I miss my family… So I really want to reach the highest level. For them.”

Featured Image Credit: Hexagone MMA