Sherif “The Shark” Mohamed promises to showcase his evolution when he makes his ONE Championship return at the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai, China this coming Saturday, 15 June.
The Egyptian will face “King Kong Warrior” Fan Rong in a three-round middleweight showdown at ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST, and he is keen to display the improvements he has made following nearly two years on the sidelines.
“It feels great to be back, and it’s more special to me that I’m back in my favorite place, ONE Championship,” the 36-year-old beams.
“The time off won’t affect my competing in a bad way, as I have never stopped training. I needed some time to work on some areas [that needed improvement] in order to be a well-rounded fighter.
“Let me put it this way — it helped me transform from a little tiny shark into a great white shark.”
He got married, and then focused on establishing The Shark Gym in the Egyptian capital, alongside his brother and fellow ONE veteran Mahmoud Mohamed.
The Cairo native has also worked with some high-level training partners in an effort to tighten his game ahead of his comeback.
“I’ve been training in my own gym with my brother Mahmoud Mohamed, Moustafa Abdelsalam — who is one of the rising heavyweight talents in Egypt — and finally, Helal Jr., an Egyptian boxing champion who will be in my corner for this bout.
“I’ve been out of sight, but never out of the gym. I am always training and improving, and this is what you will see on Saturday night.”
Mohamed will not have the chance to ease himself back into action slowly, however.
Fan, who trains out of Longyun MMA, has been quite active since making his professional debut in January 2016. He is a WMMAA Champion with an 11-2 professional record, which includes 10 stoppage victories.
To make the stakes even more intense, this upcoming bout will be contested in front of the 25-year-old’s supporters in China, so “The Shark” will have to battle the passionate local crowd, too.
Every victory must be earned in the world’s largest martial arts organization, and Mohamed wants to establish himself as a force on the global stage. With that in mind, he took the opportunity to face “King Kong Warrior” with both hands.
“This preparation has not been easy. I’m fighting once again in a higher weight category against a tough opponent, but now it’s safe to say that I’m ready to go out there and pull off the upset against him in his hometown,” the Egyptian states.
“I respect Fan Rong. He has a strong physique and the kid can land a punch, for sure. I think his strength is more on the feet using his boxing and leg kicks. I haven’t seen many weaknesses, but if I have to pick one, I will say it is his wrestling. [That is] the advantage I have over him.”
A return to competition alone is tremendous for Mohamed, but he will not necessarily be satisfied with just that.
He believes he can make a big impact and remind the organization’s global audience that he can hold his own against the world’s elite martial artists.
The Egyptian does not care that the capacity crowd will be screaming his opponent’s name. He will use their energy as motivation in search of the biggest win of his career.
“He will have the home crowd advantage. I’m the underdog in this bout, but that doesn’t affect anything. I function better under pressure,” the Cairo resident offers.
“The key to victory is closing the distance at the right time and taking the fight to the ground. I see myself running through him, tearing him apart, and getting the ‘W.’”