Prince Aounallah reveals the heartbreaking reason he spent three years away from the sport before becoming Hexagone MMA champion

No matter the obstacles placed in his way, Prince Aounallah always believed in his ability. And on June 17, his life’s work came to fruition as he became the Hexagone MMA heavyweight champion.

In a major event at Reims Arena, France, ‘His Majesty’ went toe-to-toe with one of the most intimidating fighters on the planet in the form of Ivory Coast powerhouse, Paul-Emmanuel Gnaze.

But despite the intimidating presence in front of him, Aounallah remained confident in his game plan, knowing he had the skill set to gain the victory.

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Finding himself the victim of his opponent’s heavy head kicks and brutal ground and pound, a lesser fighter would’ve given up, but not Aounallah — it simply meant too much to him.

With a ferocious mentality, installed through training at Free Fight Academy, the Frenchman stayed in the fight, landing a series of body shots before eventually taking the bout to the canvas and forcing the referee to call time midway through the fourth round.

And in that moment, years of hard work, sweat and tears culminated to make everything worthwhile.

With the strap wrapped tightly around his waist, Aounallah couldn’t have been happier, especially considering how difficult a road it was to get here.


Prince Aounallah is over the moon to have become an Hexagone MMA champion

In a sport as egocentric as MMA, losses can often break a fighter. Whether it’s a hit to the self-esteem or an inner voice telling you that you’ll never achieve your dreams, throughout history, many athletes have failed to rediscover their former selves.

So for Aounallah, after three consecutive losses, he had to take a break from the sport. However, in a testament to his fighting spirit, his unwavering will to become a legend never faltered. And in 2022, after three years out, he made his comeback, bagging two wins before walking to the cage for the biggest fight of his life.

Speaking exclusively to Sporf, he reminisced: “I was out for three years, I gained weight, which is why I’ve ended up in the heavyweight category. It wasn’t easy.

“I suffered three losses in a row, so I had to rethink my career, and then the pandemic happened, so it was a combination of both. But I felt the need to come back to see where I stood. It seems like I made a good decision.”

“The belt fits me pretty well, so it was meant to be.”

Prince Aounallah wants to become an Hexagone MMA icon

With the sport having been illegal in his homeland for so many years, the new champ was overjoyed to finally get his opportunity to perform in front of his people.

He explained: “This was the highlight of my career. MMA was not legalised in France until 2020, so this was the perfect opportunity to fight in France on a major channel in front of my friends and family.”

“I felt there was no turning back. I was ready to go the full five rounds until someone gave in, and that’s what happened.”

But while Aounallah could retire a happy man, he believes in his ability to go one step further and cement his place as one of the greatest French fighters of all time.

He claimed: “I’m not thinking about defending the heavyweight belt; I’m actually thinking of going down to light heavyweight and becoming a double Hexagone MMA champion.”

Featured Image Credit: Hexagone MMA