Cancer survivor, Aaron Aby, trains with Wrexham AFC’s Ollie Palmer ahead of Oktagon 48

Having battled and overcome cancer, there are few men who define the word ‘Fighter’ more so than Aaron Aby, thus it goes without saying, that Wrexham AFC star, Ollie Palmer, will be cheering the Welshman on when he fights for championship glory at Oktagon 48.

Born with cystic fibrosis, the MMA legend faced an uphill battle from day one. But with formidable talent and an unshakable mental resilience, he refused to listen to the naysayers, knowing he had the ability to overcome the opinion of the doctors, who all advised him against partaking in athletic activity.

With the support of his sport-obsessed parents, Aby started to excel, firstly in football, before the art of fighting caught his heart and never let it go.

Slowly but surely, he battled his way up the rankings, blowing away purists with his unrivalled fighting spirit. But then, tragedy struck. Aby was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which left him not just fighting for his career, but his life.

However, while his situation was nothing short of harrowing, he never gave up on his dreams. In a testament to his character, he fought back from the brink, defeating his illness and returning to the sport he loves.


On November 4 at the AO Arena in Manchester, he’ll have the opportunity to complete his fairytale story, when he collides with Elias Garcia for the Oktagon championship.

And with his remarkable tale resonating with so many people, his hero, Ollie Palmer, jumped at the opportunity to meet him in person.

Aaron Aby and Ollie Palmer train together ahead of Oktagon 48

While he may not have much fighting experience, the Wrexham striker certainly knows a thing or two about high-level sport. Therefore, it came as no surprise that he took to boxing like a duck to water, smashing the pads as Aby offered his words of encouragement.

The player whose clothing brand ‘WXM’ will sponsor the martial artist for his title bout, said: “If Aaron’s story can help even one person, that’s amazing. Because of the experiences he’s had, he’s in a position to be able to do that. All the lads at the club know Aaron; they know his story and what a good guy he is. Even spending a few minutes on the pads together today, I’m still trying to get my breath back! It’s a different level of fitness. To go for five rounds is incredible. Aaron’s got my support, Wrexham’s support and the whole of north Wales’ support.”

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Aaron Aby loved teaching Ollie Palmer at his Wrexham gym

Thrilled with meeting the Wrexham legend in person, Aby beamed: “To have someone like Ollie as part of my journey is massive. I’ve grown up in Wrexham all my life. I’ve grown up with the town and the football club, and that’s a big part of who I am today, so it’s been brilliant to have him visit my Inspire Performance Gym.”

Preparations for my Oktagon fight, which is the biggest of my career, have been really good. It’s a shot at a fairytale ending – I don’t always believe in those, but this is a chance to achieve a dream. I’m bringing everything I’ve got into this fight; I have the opportunity to become a World Champion. The atmosphere at Oktagon in Manchester is going to be electric. It will be a great night with loads of great fights, so I’d encourage people to come down to watch, and if anyone can come and support me, it would really mean a lot.”

Featured Image Credit: Flip Agency