John Hathaway lost his entire large intestine, and now he’s fighting at Oktagon MMA 44

In a battle that embodied determination and resilience, John Hathaway has overcome the impossible en route to his big night at Oktagon MMA 44.

Born in Brighton, the martial artist battled through thick and thin to make it to the UFC, where he impressed fans with his dazzling skill set.

Picking up wins over the likes of Diego Sanchez and Rick Story, the natural-born fighter looked destined for greatness until a battle with Crohn’s disease forced him out of the cage for eight years.

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Shortly before a scheduled fight in London against Matt Brown, he realised something was seriously wrong and opted to visit the doctors, who uncovered his illness. But despite the diagnosis, he continued to fight until he was physically unable to do so.

In an exclusive interview with Sporf, he said: “I tried to fight through it as much as I could. But while I was in my training camps, during those high-pressure moments, I’d get flare-ups.

“I took eight years out to try and get it under control with different medications. I did every protocol they gave me.”

“For the first couple of years, it was really hard. I couldn’t watch MMA. As much as I love coaching, it was hard. But great fights are still happening, so it draws you back in. I love the sport so much that I became invested again after that initial kicking my feet a little bit. But I was still unhappy not being able to compete in what I wanted to do.”

John Hathaway knew he had more to prove

While many fighters would’ve thrown in the towel, Hathaway refused — it’s simply not in his nature.

Although doctors repeatedly told him his career was over, the warrior utilised his immense powers of self-belief, knowing that against all odds, he had the capabilities of doing some amazing things in the sport.

And eventually, he met the medical professional that made his dream a reality.

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He reminisced: “Most doctors were just like,’You should probably stop now’. I was incredibly lucky as I had one of those doctors who could tell you the sky was purple, and you’d believe it.

“He was so charismatic, and I had so much faith in what he said. The surgery usually takes a year, but I needed it done in eight months. I wanted to get back to competing. And he was just like, ‘We can do that’. I had the faith to get back to what I love doing because of him.”

John Hathaway has earned his opportunity to fight at Oktagon MMA 44

After almost a decade away from the sport, the 35-year-old went under the knife and had his entire large intestine removed. But his hardest battles were yet to come.

Speaking to Oktagon MMA, he added: “I’ve got lots of scars in my stomach, the keyhole sites. I had a hole in my stomach for eight months. I had my stomach wall sewn back together after deep adhesions, and it was initially difficult to stand up. I’m more hunched and probably shorter than I used to be from these cuts.

“Over time, I started to compete with the guys at the gym; then, I knew I could compete with other people. I started to be able to do stuff at a high level and became confident that I could do it again with other people.”

But while the journey was hard, his unrelenting courage was rewarded in abundance.

On October 15 2022, Hathaway made his long-awaited comeback at Oktagon MMA 36 and blew the raucous crowd away with a sparkling performance.

The British pioneer beamed: “I don’t think anything or anyone was gonna stop me.

“That day, it felt like the eight years out never happened.”

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John Hathaway is ready to make a statement performance at Oktagon MMA 44

With such a spectacular showing in his last outing, Hathaway has bagged himself a massive opportunity at Oktagon MMA 44 in Oberhausen, Germany, on June 17.

‘The Hitman’ will compete in a reserve bout for the TipSport Gamechanger.

Referred to as ‘The Champions League’ of MMA, the tournament pits the best against the best. Consequently, Hathaway is desperate to earn his chance to compete with the highest-level athletes Oktagon has to offer.

And there’s one man, in particular, that he has his eye on.

The MMA icon asserted: “I rate David Kozma a lot. He’s a super strong, durable fighter. He has good stand-up and a great ground game too. He’s a big strong guy, and he’s a nice person as well, very enjoyable to watch.”

But before Hathaway can even think about a battle with ‘The Pink Panther’, he’ll have to defeat a hyped-up Lucas Siwiec. And fans can watch the major attraction live on DAZN.

Featured Image Credit: Oktagon MMA