BY SPORTS REPORTER
NEW Zealand-based Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) rising star Mike Mathetha, better known as Mike ‘Blood’ Diamond, is set to become the first Zimbabwean to feature in the money-spinning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) when he makes his debut at UFC 271 against American star Orion Cosce.
The card has been scheduled for February 12, 2022. However, the location and venue, is yet to be decided.
Mathetha became the first Zimbabwean to be offered a contract with the USA-based MMA promotion company after being awarded a four-fight contract in the UFC’s welterweight division in July this year.
The 31-year-old specialist kickboxer currently holds three professional MMA fights to his credit. He is all set to go for his fourth one and also to add on to his current winning record of 3-0.
Orion Cosce, on the other hand, will be looking to avenge his first defeat. After running off seven straight finishes to start his pro career, the Contender Series contract winner was stopped by Philip Rowe in his octagon debut in July.
Blood Diamond, as Mathetha is popularly known in New Zealand was born in Zimbabwe, but immigrated to “The Land Of The Long White Cloud” with his family in 2003 at the age of 14.
He was raised in Blenheim, a town on New Zealand’s South Island, before moving to Auckland to chase his dream of becoming a professional fighter.
Mathetha is a product of the Auckland-based City Kickboxing Gym, which is renowned for being the home club of Nigerian born UFC superstar Israel Adesanya, who is a close friend of the rising Zimbabwean star.
Mathetha says his target is to give Zimbabweans someone to support on the UFC and inspiring up-and-coming fighters, who also aspire to reach the highest level of the sport.
“Becoming the first Zimbabwean in the UFC is something cool to be honest, being first in something is just wow,” Mathetha said. For me it’s going to be like I’ve accomplished something other people have not managed to do. Yeah, there are quite a few Africans in the UFC, but just being the first Zimbabwean to be signed is such a cool thing. Now Zimbabwean fans will have someone to support and I hope I can inspire someone. If I can at least inspire one person, they hear my story and decide to chase their dream,
“I’m happy with that. All I need is just one person,” he said.