Losene Keita: From Prison to Professional Fighter, with UFC Now In His Sights

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Losene Keita, Oktagon MMALosene Keita Credit: Oktagon MMA

Losene Keita went from being caged, to warring successful the cage.

Earlier this month, Guinea’s Keita (9-0) captured the Oktagon MMA lightweight championship, knocking retired Ivan Buchinger successful 3 minutes to seal the deal. As Keita pointed retired successful an exclusive interrogation with Cageside Press, helium got the occupation done faster than Conor McGregor — 1 of seasoned Buchinger’s aged foes.

“I deliberation present this show tin get maine to the doorway [of the UFC],” Keita told us. “Nobody did before, what I did to Ivan. Even Conor McGregor didn’t bash that to Ivan. I did it faster than Conor McGregor.”

With a reputable determination rubric successful hand, Keita present hopes the UFC comes calling. If they don’t, there’s the anticipation of challenging for Buchinger’s different Oktagon MMA title, astatine featherweight.

Either way, large things are ahead. But the representation wasn’t ever truthful rosy for Losene Keita.

In his teens, Keita recovered himself successful plentifulness of trouble. “I was surviving successful a atrocious area,” said the antheral known arsenic “Black Panther,” who trains successful and fights retired of Belgium. There were plentifulness of pugnacious guys successful the vicinity that thought they could fight, Keita explained, and “I wanted to beryllium to myself that I could fight, truthful yeah, I was warring with guys similar that— conscionable to beryllium myself, to beryllium honest.”

That landed him successful blistery h2o with the police. “They enactment maine successful situation for anserine stuff, similar I was warring connected the thoroughfare a lot.”

By the clip helium was 18, Keita knew helium had to crook things around. “I saw my parent crying; she went to the jailhouse to beryllium with me. That was it for me, I said ‘that’s capable now.'” Fresh retired of prison, the aboriginal Oktagon MMA champ coiled up trying his manus astatine MMA, aft a person saw him fight, and recognized the imaginable successful him.

“Why not travel to my gym and commencement training?” the friend, not peculiarly adjacent with Keita astatine the time, suggested.

Keita was hesitant. “At archetypal I didn’t privation to, due to the fact that successful our family, cipher fights. Everybody was playing football, basketball, things similar that.” But yet helium gave it a shot. “I said, ‘yeah wherefore not?’ So I went to my archetypal training, I liked it precise much.”

That led to Keita grooming 2 times a week, portion inactive playing shot arsenic well. “After 2 months of grooming MMA, I got my archetypal amateur fight, and it went precise good.”

From there, Keita hasn’t looked back. And portion he’s been getting the occupation done with his hands lately, there’s nary 1 emotion for Keita erstwhile it comes to the assorted disciplines of mixed martial arts.

“I don’t attraction astir striking, grappling; I privation to beryllium the champion successful everything,” Keita exclaimed. “I’m African, a batch of Africans emotion to wrestle, similar successful the street, we were ever wrestling successful the street, we didn’t adjacent cognize what warring was. I similar to wrestle, but I conscionable similar to win, you know?”

Through 9 nonrecreational fights now, winning is each Losene Keita has done. “I similar to accidental to my friends, ‘just absorption connected winning, and everything volition travel along.’ For me, it was similar that.”

Now, he’s looking up to the imaginable of a UFC call-up. That’s ever been the goal, Keita told us.

“For me, each fight’s a imagination astir UFC. If the UFC calls maine now, I’m packing my things now. For me, it’s ever the UFC. Bellator is besides good, but the archetypal spot is ever the UFC.”