How Family Gave Elias Mahmoudi The Strength To Chase His Dream

Elias Mahmoudi DC 3129

Elias “The Sniper” Mahmoudi is one of the most exciting martial artists in the world.

He is just 21 years old, but the French-Algerian striking prodigy is already a three-time Muay Thai World Champion.

He showcased his phenomenal skills in ONE Championship for the first time in January and captured a sensational debut victory over Yukinori Ogasawara by unanimous decision, which earned him a shot at the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title at ONE: WARRIORS OF LIGHT on Friday, 10 May.

Mahmoudi will take on “The Baby Shark” Petchdam Petchyindee Academy in the co-main event at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand, and though he might seem like an overnight success given his quick rise in The Home Of Martial Arts, he has paid his dues in his sport.

Before he returns to action for the biggest match of his life, learn all about how the “The Sniper” became an elite competitor.

An Active Childhood

Elias Mahmoudi is on a mission to become the first-ever ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion on 10 May!

Elias Mahmoudi is on a mission to become the first-ever ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion on 10 May!Bangkok | 10 May | 6:30PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets:

Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, April 22, 2019

Mahmoudi was born and raised in a suburb of Paris, France called Bonneuil-sur-Marne with his father, who was a youth worker and martial arts instructor; his mother, who worked in a solarium; and his older brother.

He was an extremely athletic kid who liked outdoor pursuits and sports. He was born into a family of martial artists, but that was not his only pastime.

“I had good people around me who always supported me – people that could help me, talk to me, and explain things, so my childhood was relatively calm,” he says.

“I liked horse-riding when I was younger, I used to ride a lot.

“I always liked sport – any sport, whether it was ping-pong, tennis, jogging – I was gifted in sports and loved it. Fishing too.”

However, he was also hyperactive, to the point where even all of these activities could not keep him in check, and it did lead him into some trouble at school.

Fortunately, there was one outlet that kept him on the right path.

“I was quite unruly at school. I had quite a few troubles when I was young because of it,” Mahmoudi explains. 

“I struggled with channeling myself and staying calm because I was so hyperactive. Muay Thai allowed me to juggle between [sports and school] and have some stability in my life.”

Keeping The Family Tradition Alive

The term ‘lifelong martial artist’ is often used, but it could not be more apt for “The Sniper.”

Martial arts are in his genes, and he practiced them from an early age at the community-focused martial arts school, Mahmoudi Gym, his father and uncle founded in 1984. 

“My father and my uncle introduced me to martial arts. It’s my family tradition,” he says.

“I started going to the gym as soon as I learned how to walk. From my early childhood, I saw it, and I lived it. I was in the environment ever since I was a kid. I started seriously between 6 to 8 years old.”

Muay Thai kept him captivated more than anything else. He was never pressured to train and compete – his father even suggested he choose another path – but it was all the burgeoning youngster wanted to do.

“[My father] always said it was a very difficult profession, and if it was up to him, he wouldn’t want me to choose it,” Mahmoudi recalls.

He began his competitive career at the age of 8 in his native France, and by the age of 10, he had competed professionally in Thailand, and the success never stopped.

Drawing On His Mother’s Strength

Elias Mahmoudi ASH_1553.jpg

Mahmoudi’s father and uncle were strong male and martial arts role models, and the Parisian striker was extremely close to his mother outside of the gym, too.

When he was just 10 years old, she was diagnosed with cancer and “The Sniper” took it hard.

“My mother got cancer several times, but one was quite serious when I was young. My parents preferred not to tell my brother and me, to keep us from it, but we finally knew anyway,” he says.

“At the beginning, I was shocked, it was difficult. I needed to make myself prepare for the worst, even knowing that my mother wasn’t giving up and would keep fighting until the end.”

Fortunately, his mother overcame her illness, and her courage made a massive impact on her son.

Watching from the sidelines as she went through treatment and recovery, Mahmoudi saw the real spirit of a warrior as she finally won her battle with the disease.

“My mother is the source of inspiration for me because she was a fighter, she lived through a lot of difficulties, but she always held her head high, she was always strong and always kept fighting,” adds “The Sniper.”

“What I learned from her was that whatever happens in life, one mustn’t give up, one must hold one’s head high and fight, and I think this is what I try to apply in my life.”

Muay Thai Prodigy

In a thrilling back-and-forth battle, Elias Mahmoudi out-strikes Yukinori Ogasawara to claim the unanimous decision win!

In a thrilling back-and-forth battle, Elias Mahmoudi out-strikes Yukinori Ogasawara to claim the unanimous decision win!Watch the full event LIVE & FREE on the ONE Super App 👉 | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast

Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, January 25, 2019

Mahmoudi seemed destined for success in Muay Thai from an early age. It was clear he was a prodigious talent to anyone who watched him, but it took a while for “The Sniper” to realize it himself.

“I didn’t think I would be so successful in this sport,” he states.

“[In my early career], every fight I would win by KO in the first or second round. As time went on, my opponents were getting stronger, and I saw that I still performed well.

“Most often, I was winning the fights by KO or with a big score difference. I started realizing that I could succeed, but from that point to where I am now, I would never have guessed.”

Mahmoudi won his first World Title at the age of 15 at the IFMA World Championships. He added the WMF, WPMF and MTGP World Titles to his résumé, and then got the call to step out on the global stage for martial arts.

His stunning debut performance earned him the shot at the ONE World Title in Bangkok, and that accolade would be the crowning glory on his career.

“Winning the ONE Championship title would be a great accomplishment for me for 15 years work,” says “The Sniper” ahead of his bout with Petchdam.

“I know that it is going to be a difficult fight. Thanks to everything that I have lived through and everything I have worked towards, I hope that I can give the best of myself on 10 May.”

More in Features

Suablack Tor Pran49 Craig Coakley ONE Friday Fights 46 23
Aaron Canarte Akbar Abdullaev ONE Fight Night 12 5
Christian Lee becomes the new ONE Welterweight World Champion
Scottish Muay Thai fighter Amy Pirnie
Jarred Brooks Joshua Pacio ONE 166 12
Hiroba Minowa Gustavo Balart ONE 165 77
Nico Carrillo Saemapetch Fairtex ONE Fight Night 23 40
Ok Rae Yoon Alibeg Rasulov ONE Fight Night 23 36
Ok Rae Yoon Lowen Tynanes ONE Fight Night 10 68
Muangthai PK Saenchai Nico Carrillo ONE Friday Fights 22 38
Pictures from Eddie Alvarez vs. Ok Rae Yoon from "ONE on TNT IV"
Alibeg Rasulov