Home PodcastAshraf Garda South African Teen Sights Gold in Upcoming MMA World Championship in Abu Dhabi

South African Teen Sights Gold in Upcoming MMA World Championship in Abu Dhabi

by Thaabit Kamaar
Photo by [Gsport]

Nuha Shah is expected to defend her title later this August when she travels to Abu Dhabi to compete in the youth mixed martial arts world championship. Shah was preselected to compete in an MMA tournament in Johannesburg before leaving for Abu Dhabi. She will participate in different age and weight categories.

Last year, Shah’s incredible skill and dedication won the gold at the 2022 edition of the IMMA world championship in Abu Dhabi. At 14 years old, she became one of the first South Africans to secure the top honours at the tournament.

Shah’s Introduction to MMA

When considering MMA, we immediately go to UFC athletes such as Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov or Ronda Rousey. However, the teen from Grassy Park in Cape Town is slowly becoming a household name.

Shah began her career by training in Jiu-Jitsu in 2016. She was introduced to the Japanese martial arts through her father. At the tender age of 15, she has several years of experience in the sport.

It was only a few years later that she made the switch to MMA. However, it was only recently that Shah began to train and competitively participate in the combat sport.

“I first started doing Jiu-Jitsu in 2016. At one of my competitions, I saw small girls doing MMA and then I just wanted to try that out. From there I continued in 2018 but I also stopped. Then last year sometime last year I continued it and trained harder for that.”

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Experience Gained in Last Years MMA Tournament

Even though Shah walked away with the gold, she recalls the difficulty of last year’s competition. The participants’ levels were “high and tough”. Despite Shah’s vast years of experience in Jiu-Jitsu and her family and coaches’ support, she overcame and prevailed.

“I was shocked. I couldn’t actually believe that I won, because in my first fight I actually thought I lost. But then when I raised my hand and I was like, oh okay I won.”

Shah said her parents, coaching staff and community were incredibly proud of her achievement in Abu Dhabi. When asked what separates her from the competitors, she replied that her work ethic and belief in her ability.

“I just kept going to training, kept on working hard each day and I kept putting in the time. I was just being myself.”


Watch the full discussion here.

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