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Much Ado About Mohamed | UFC FIGHT PASS

Ascending Talent Mohamed Ado Discusses His Approach To His Career Ahead Of Unified MMA 55 Appearance

There is a reason folks that pay close attention to the regional circuit and prospects emerging in the sport are excited about Mohamed Ado.

The 23-year-old from Niger, who lives, trains, and goes to school in Ottawa, has gone 3-0 to begin his career, earning each of his victories inside the distance. While a quick start and trio of finishes isn’t necessarily uncommon, it’s who he’s faced and how he’s beaten them that has prompted scouts and pundits to focus their attention on the rising star fighting out of Canada’s capital.

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“I understand people going slowly, and I feel like I did that doing kickboxing and Muay Thai,” began Ado, explaining his approach to his career thus far when we spoke last week. “I didn’t have that many fights, but the few that I had, I was able to experience different styles, different intensities.”

With very limited combat sports experience, Ado debuted against Matt Speciale, an unbeaten and promising prospect in his own right, handing the 4-0 fighter his first professional loss at Unified MMA 48, rallying to earn the stoppage in the third round. Six months later, he out-wrestled former Division I wrestler Taylor Cahill, who similarly entered with a 1-0 mark. And then in October, Ado picked up his third straight win under the Unified MMA banner, submitting 22-fight veteran Roman Cordova in the second round.

Most people just starting out aren’t facing that level of competition right out of the chute, and even fewer are putting all three away in impressive fashion, which is why many feel Ado isn’t just another prospect.

“The experience factor is a big factor, but if you know you’re doing well and your coaches trust your abilities, I feel like why not just try the hardest fights?” continued Ado, who takes on Chris Chapman later this week at Unified MMA 55 in Toronto. “Obviously I’m not going to go fight a UFC fighter, but I don’t want to take easy fights either because if I was to go to the UFC, I’m going to get crushed; it’s going to be a wakeup call.

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“I’d rather go through hard fights early on, and I’m glad I’ve been able to go through different situations. Having that experience early on, instead of picking and choosing what I want to do, makes it easier for me at the end of the day because when I get to the big show, I’ll be ready because I’ve experienced those things already.

“I know it’s not the easiest thing to (challenge yourself every time), but it needs to be done, and I’d rather do it early on, be done with it, know that I’m comfortable doing it,” he added. “I’d rather put myself in uncomfortable situations and get used to them, rather than picking and choosing my style. I’d rather be seeing different aspects of MMA and getting comfortable with them.”

Plenty of people say they want to test themselves and drop clichés about “getting comfortable being uncomfortable,” but Ado is actively doing just that, taking on tough challenges, fighting opponents on their terms, and navigating dangerous assignments early, all in an effort to accelerate his development and give himself the most accurate picture of where he currently stands as a fighter.

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The mindset is one thing, but the more you learn about Ado, the more you see his approach mirrors the way he thinks as well, because the 23-year-old is challenging himself on a daily basis with his day-to-day schedule.

Along with being one of the most promising young fighters in the country, the unbeaten up-and-comer is a full-time student at the University of Ottawa, where he’s pursuing a degree in International Development and Globalization, though he’s hopeful that his career in the cage will take off to where he doesn’t need to use his degree; at least not right away.

On top of that, Ado works part time in order to make ends meet, meaning days are long, schedules are constantly getting juggled, and sometimes, class gets put on the back burner, but don’t tell his professors.

“It’s hard; it was really long days, especially during the last camp,” he said of fitting school, training, and work into his days. “This one is a little bit better because it’s last minute, so I don’t have to commit to doing those long days as long (this time).

“Some things had to be sacrificed more than others – like school would be left out more — but it had to be done.”

Perhaps the thing that best explains why folks are so high on Ado as a fighter to watch heading into Friday’s clash with Chapman is his reasoning when asked why he opted to pursue mixed martial arts rather than professional wrestling, which, for him, like so many of us, was his original starting point.

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“It doesn’t depend on the effort you put in, and that’s the part I don’t really like,” he said of professional wrestling, where greater workers with all the requisite skills and abilities are still at the mercy of higher-ups deciding who to push and who not to push. “With MMA, I know that as long as I’m putting in the effort, as long as I’m doing the job, it’s going to be up to whatever I decide to do, what I decide to apply from what I learn in training camp.

“I’m more comfortable with things being on my shoulders,” he added. “It depends on what I do and not what someone else does.”

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So far, his efforts have produced three wins and three finishes in as many starts, and earned him high praise from sharp minds in the industry, something Ado doesn’t take for granted.

“It does mean a lot because I didn’t think I was going to get to talk to people like them, people like you, so early in my career, just 3-0, because this kind of coverage is something any up-and-coming fighter would hope for,” he said. “It definitely does feel good to see the things I’m doing, people are paying attention to it, and people that are really in the MMA sphere are paying attention.

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“It means a lot and shows the work I’ve been doing is paying off. It makes me more excited and makes me want to work even harder."

Friday night, even more people that are “really in the MMA sphere” will be paying attention, as he returns to action with the opportunity to compete in front of the Lookin’ for a Fight crew.

“It’s not pressure — not really — but excitement, yes,” began Ado, who said he joked that the short-notice nature of this week’s fight meant he got fat over the holidays. "I tried getting on the card when it was announced, but it wasn’t able to be done. They had to make me get fat and all before they let me sign a contract.

“I’m definitely excited for the opportunity and the people that are going to be there, and the opponent, because I know Chapman is game — comes forward, forward, forward — so it’s going to be fun.”

If things keep going the way they have so far, don’t be surprised if UFC CEO Dana White is the next person to sing Ado’s praises and boast of his potential.

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