Ahmed Mujtaba has had plenty of time to dust himself off after the first round loss to Sage Northcutt. He returns to the ring next weekend at ONE Fight Night 15 and believes he can still be a contender in the lightweight division despite that defeat,

“My eyes are on the ONE Championship belt, and sooner or later, I’ll be getting it.”

Coming off the loss at ONE Fight Night 6 he is a long way from challenging for that title. A win next month would put him right in the mix though because he is taking on undefeated Turkish prospect Halil Amir.

For Mujtaba getting matched with elite lightweights has just become normal,

“Every fight is a big fight. I’ve never backed down from any opportunity given by ONE Championship. I’ve always fought tough guys. This is a big opportunity for me as well.”

Good power

The loss to Northcutt might have been disappointing but six months earlier Mujtaba had submitted a BJJ black belt. His last six fights have all finished in the first two rounds and the Pakistani is confident he will be able to finish Amir,

“If I get a chance to knock him out, I’ll knock him out. If I get the chance to submit him, I’ll submit him. It depends on the situation. We just have to be very calm, and we will see where it will go.”

Amir knocked out Timofey Nastyukhin on his ONE Championship debut. Mujtaba has clearly seen that fight and will be way of his opponent’s power,

“I’ve seen Amir’s fights, and he’s good. He’s got some good power in his hands. He’s a good martial artist. We will see what he brings to the ring this time. I have my arsenal geared up as well, so it will be a good fight.”

Familiar role

Amir went on to earn a decision win over a previously undefeated French opponent on his sophomore appearance inside the ONE Championship ring. The Turkish fighter is already ranked #4 in the lightweight division.

Mujtaba might have been on the roster longer but he hadn’t beaten an opponent of Nastyuhkin’s calibre and has yet to crack the top five. The Pakistani comes into next month’s contest as an underdog.

But there has never been much hype surrounding Mujtaba. He has quietly gone about the business of winning four ONE Championship fights out of seven without ever troubling the title picture.

That would all change if he could beat Amir at ONE Fight Night 15. For the time being he is happy to be the underdog and says it is a role he has become very familiar with,

“I feel good being the underdog. It’s nothing bad. I don’t care for these things. Maybe some fighters feel a bit of pressure, but for me it’s normal.”