Oumar Kane looks set to be a breakout star in 2020. The Senegalese star won his ONE Championship debut earlier this year ad is set to compete on the promotion’s marquee card this week.

‘Reug Reug’ is booked to face Mehdi Barghi at ONE on TNT. The fight will be broadcast live in the US and the 29 year old thinks things are just starting to come together for him,

“My coach has really started to thread my game together and I believe I am ready to be a star. All my time is devoted to becoming champion. Nothing else matters to me right now, just becoming champion.”

Going viral

The stars certainly seem to have aligned for Kane who came to ONE Championship’s attention after a video of him slamming an opponent to the ground on his MMA debut went viral. He started out competing in Senegalese wrestling and soon became a star in Dakar,

“I fought 16 fights in the main arena and won all of them,” he recalls.

He isn’t the first heavyweight to make the transition from wrestling to MMA and Kane certainly won’t be the last. ‘Reug Reug’ says it was a natural progression for him,

“I have always fought. I was a champion wrestler, so mixed martial arts was a natural progression.”

Fast finish

At ONE: ‘Unbreakable’ Part II he faced Alain Ngalani. Kane finished his fellow African in under a round but says he was nowhere near to being in peak physical condition for this fight,

“It was very emotional. I was injured going into the fight, so I couldn’t use some of my strongest skills, but I didn’t want to let my fans down. I was basically fighting with one arm, but I am fully fit now, and you will see a much cleaner win this time.”

The list of stars from Stade Demba Diop in Dakar who have gone on to enjoy success in MMA is not a long one. While wrestling remains arguably the best single base for the sport Kane knows that the strategy which gave so much him success in Senegal’s wrestling stadiums might not be as effective in this new sport.

To help him make the transition ‘Reug Reug’ has enlisted the help of some experienced trainers and sparring partners,

“I have been training with some brilliant fighters who have shown me what it takes to get to the top, I train harder than any of my opponents ever will, and until I become champion, nothing will change.”

Blueprint for success

The blueprint for success has been laid down by heavyweight fighters like Randy Couture and Brock Lesnar. Kane hopes to follow in their footsteps but he is not exactly ready to bide his time,

“Look at the great heavyweight champions like Brock Lesnar, they came from a wrestling background and were champions within ten pro fights. I believe I can do the same.”

His win over Ngalani brought Kane to the attention of a wider audience. The 29 year old says his online popularity increased significantly after that event was broadcast,

“From my first fight, I gained over 20,000 followers on Instagram alone.”

Global event

He has an even bigger platform this week when his fight will be broadcast live on TNT in the US. Kane has already had a taste of ONE Championship success and the man from Senegal is hungry for more.

ONE Championship has featured a lot of heavyweight fights in 2021. Competition in the division is intensifying but ‘Reug Reug’ can put himself right in the title mix with a win this week and the 29 year old already has his sights set on the belt,

“I think when I become champion, it will be a global event.”