Sherif “The Shark” Mohamed has tore through the best competition in the Middle East, but now he is preparing to navigate through the deepest talent pool in Asia.
The Egyptian Top Team product will make his ONE Championship debut on Saturday Night, 14 January, when he squares off against Filipino resident Igor Subora of Ukraine in a light heavyweight showdown. The bout will take place at ONE: QUEST FOR POWER in Indonesia’s Jakarta Convention Center.
Subora, a former URCC Heavyweight Champion who relocated to Manila, Philippines, eight years ago, is making his light heavyweight debut after experiencing two consecutive defeats in his ONE heavyweight campaign. Despite the losing skid, Sherif is not underestimating his opponent.
“I think he is good in wrestling,” the 34-year-old offers. “I respect him and any opponents I face.”
The brother to fellow ONE competitor Mahmoud Mohamed, Sherif came from humble beginnings before stumbling into the rough and tumble world of fighting. Just surviving in Cairo, Egypt, was a battle within itself.
Sherif took to combat early in life. A man of few words, he stated that his only hobby growing up was watching fights. The fascination moved from watching fights to testing the waters of combat sports. He laid the foundations for his fighting style early on, taking first to wrestling, then kickboxing, and he eventually became a national champion in both.
After excelling on the national stage, Sherif caught the eye of Egyptian Top Team trainer Khaled Abdel Hamid and made the jump to MMA.
“Egyptian Top Team is one of the best teams in the Middle East,” he says. “The trainers are always supportive and keep pushing me to fight at a high level. I am training with the godfathers of MMA in Egypt, and several of my teammates are champions.”
As the saying goes, “iron sharpens iron.” The Cairo resident’s coaches saw his progress and suggested he go from the training ground to the cage.
“My first time walking to the cage was easy,” he recalls. “A lot of guys told me to focus and that I would be nervous. I was not any of those things. I had belief in myself.”
Though his debut fight with Egyptian FC 5 in March 2012 ended with Sherif on the wrong end of a second-round TKO, he went back to the drawing board and fine-tuned his skills. “I just needed to be more careful,” he says of the lesson learned after his first defeat.
It would be two years before Sherif took another professional fight. “The Shark” finally returned to the cage in 2014 and immediately put Egypt’s budding MMA community on notice that a new contender was in town.
At Egyptian FC 14, he dispatched his opponent in the second round with a series of punches. The taste of victory was all the motivation Sherif needed to press forward with his professional career.
“I felt I was at home,” he said of getting his hand raised for the first time. “I was proud and happy that my coaches trusted me and my skills.”
Sherif certainly found his home inside the cage. Not only did he turn his career around quickly, but he also won the EFC Middleweight Championship in 2014 before moving up to light heavyweight. Currently, he holds an 8-1 overall record, with four of his wins coming by submission and the other four by TKO.
Now, after wowing Egyptian fans for several years, he finds himself on the biggest fighting stage in all of Asia, and will make his ONE debut on Saturday Night, 14 January, against Igor Subora.
For Sherif, this is another step on his quest towards his ultimate goal.
“I want to be one of the best Egyptian fighters ever.”