It’s fight week for Ray Thompson, and his team at Almighty Fighting Championship as the Rainton Arena in Houghton Le Springs hosts Almighty Fighting Championship 22 on January 22nd. I had the pleasure of catching up with one half of the main event, Shajidul Haque, to get his thoughts on his title fight this Saturday.
This Saturday marks the promotion’s first event of the year, with eleven more to follow throughout 2022. The scheduled fight card will consist of exciting professional and amateur action from the hottest talent in the United Kingdom.
The flyweight title is up for grabs in the main event as ACE MMA fighter Shajidul Haque battles it out against Polish native Igor Wojtas. Both men are relishing the opportunity to leave Houghton Le Springs, the Almighty FC flyweight champion.
Interview with Shajidul Haque
Just under three weeks before you make the walk at Almighty FC 22 to take on Igor Wojtas. How are you feeling as we close into Jan 22? Has your Christmas period been somewhat limited due to watching your weight/diet etc?
“I’m feeling motivated, excited and very ready. It is definitely difficult to stay on track this time of year when there is the temptation to eat bad, sleep late and train less. It tests your discipline and commitment, but I am disciplined and committed.”
Last time out, you made the walk-in Gateshead on Almighty FC 20. With some time to reflect and watch the fight back. How did you feel you did in your unanimous decision victory over Aaron Robinson? Was there anything you think you did well or perhaps could have done better?
“I feel the fight went pretty much how I anticipated. I didn’t intend to take a knee to the head, lol, but I knew he was powerful, and if I got caught, it would be in the first round. It was probably the only minute I was losing. Every other minute was mine.”
How did the title fight with Igor come around? Was this something you expected when offered the fight, and what was your initial thought on the fight?
“When Almighty decided to crown pro champions, I knew I was going to be top of that list. Initially, I would fight Elliot Hoye, who had to pull out due to injury. Now I have Igor, who is a black belt with a load of experience and one of the top Flyweights from Poland. I respect what he brings and makes this a worthy title fight.”
With it being a title fight and main event, does it add more motivation to keep your schedule strict over the Christmas period?
“I’ve made mistakes of underestimating and slacking before and learned that you have to train for every fight like its the biggest fight. I guess the 5×5 title does add a little more motivation to everything.”
How much value do you take from sharing the Octagon with now UFC flyweight Jake Hadley and defeating current Cage Warriors champion Sam Creasey, opposed to some of your opponents on the regional circuit, who haven’t had that massive learning experience? Do you feel that plays into your favour?
“The experience is definitely in my favour. He may have the same amount of fights, but I have tested my skills with specialists in all areas. I have always fought the best opponents I could. Look through my record, and you will see there is no padding on it. No other flyweights have had that many big names on their record. Igor will have to bring something special.”
Igor Wojtas has been fighting professionally for about the same time as you. He moved from Poland to Scotland to train and better his career. Since the fight has been made, have you had the chance to watch tape on his previous fights? If so, what’s your thoughts on Igor as a fellow competitor?
“As mentioned before, Igor is a tough opponent. I am sure he will have improved a lot recently with his new camp. I am not taking him lightly, but I do feel sorry for anyone doing 5×5 with me.”
Starting in 2022 with two consecutive wins on Almighty and becoming the Almighty FC flyweight champion would set you up for a potentially great year. Just sum up what it would mean to you to win the belt on Jan 22?
“It will be a reminder that I am the best European flyweight outside the UFC, and everyone will see the Almighty FC Champion has a win over the current Cage Warriors World Champion, and you all can decide what that means.”
Have you set yourself goals within MMA for 2022?
“My goal when I started has always been to win world championships and fight in the UFC. That is still the goal. With all the uncertainty now, it is difficult to set time-specific goals, but I intend to have some big fights this year.”
Lastly, can we get an official fight prediction? How do you see the action unfolding?
“I see him trying hard in the first round, losing hope in the second, fatigued in the third, hurting in the fourth, finished in the fifth.”