Besam Yousef Pride of a Nation

GameStop, Inc.

by R.C. Samo


Besam Yousef PhotoFor most people, the in the Western World, this past weekend were celebrating either Easter or Passover, but for Besam Yousef, the first ever Assyrian fighter in the UFC. He was not only training like a his upcoming UFC against Papy Abedi on April 6th, but was also celebrating the birth of the first nations of the Fertile Crescent.

The calendar year for the Assyrio-Babylonian peoples (Assyrians, Chaldeans and Syriac) is now 6763. These peoples were the first nations, the first empires and the fiercest warriors the world had ever scene. They created the banking system, government, writing, education and civilized the world.

Now, like the rest of these people living in a diaspera, Yousef, represents not only himself, but his ancestory, his cultural identity and the cradle of civilization going into this fight.


  1. You started training 2003, after being inspired by the likes of Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva, what about their styles brought you into the world of MMA thinking, “You know what? I want to do that.”

I liked Vitor’s speed and his boxing. Wanderlei’s knees and clinch game. They were both very aggressive.


  1. You are an ethnic Assyrian from Syria (a completely different Semitic group from Arabs and Jews), and a descendent of the first empire in all of history. Do you feel that the warrior spirit of the ancients has been carried down to you after all these millennia and do you feel as if you are a presentation of a people who are voiceless in their native homelands?

I really hope it has. I really want to put us Assyrians back on the map! I am very proud to be the first Assyrian in UFC history.


  1. In your second UFC fight, you will be facing Papy Abedi a Swedish-Congolese fighter, who carries a record of 8-2. How has your training changed since your encounter with Simeon Thoresen?

Not much has changed really. I train hard and try to develop in all areas of fighting.


  1. Having been born in Syria, and moving to Sweden, what was your upbringing like in having to live in two very distinct and different cultures i.e. being Middle Eastern at home and Scandinavian in public?

I came to Sweden when i was 3 years old so I don’t really remember much from Syria. My upbringing here in Sweden has been really good. I had a really good childhood and would like to visit Syria sometime in the future. I haven’t been there since I was a toddler.


  1. After all is said and done, you’ve hung up the gloves and retire from MMA, what would you want your legacy to be? What is it that Besam Yousef wants to be most remembered for as a fighter?

I want to be remembered as the first Assyrian in the UFC. An entertaining fighter with a warrior’s spirit . I just hope I have made a lot of Assyrians around the world proud of their heritage.


Yousef said in regards to winning this fight, “It will a good start to a new year.”

The fight will be airing April 6, 2013 on FUEL TV

Follow Besam Yousef on Twitter


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