“Grandpa’s still here! At 45, and having not appeared in a cage since 2006, Gregory Bouchelaghem pulled off a perfect comeback on July 28, winning by K-O in 15 seconds for his comeback fight at HEXAGONE MMA 10, in the amazing setting of Orange’s ancient theater. “Today, my fame is mainly due to the videos I make on Youtube. A lot of people only know me through those and aren’t necessarily aware of what I can do in real-life situations. So, this comeback is also a way of showing them what I’m worth.” Indeed, although he is considered one of the pioneers of mixed martial arts, Gregory Bouchelaghem owes his recent fame to the content he produces on the internet behind the pseudonym “GregMMA”. A popularizer of the world of combat sports, the Frenchman has racked up millions of views, to the point of making his comeback a real event. But as he says: “Before being a youtuber, I’m a fighter”. And a good one at that.
“Before, I was always the foil for a local fighter”.
Introduced to martial arts through karate, where he reached a good national level, Gregory Bouchelaghem then made a name for himself in grappling, before turning to free fighting, the ancestor of MMA. With nine appearances in the cage before 2023, Gregory Bouchelaghem has, over the 2000s, rubbed elbows with the highest international level. Between two fights for the Cage Warriors belt, the Frenchman made his mark in M-1 and Pride FC, the mythical organization of the time. “Before, I was always a foil for a local fighter. Now it’s just the effect opposite, and that excites me!” It has to be said that during his golden years, “GregMMA” didn’t spare himself. Opposed successively to Paulo Filho and Gegard Mousasi – two legends of the sport – he faced adversity rarely experienced by a French athlete.
“Today, I’m much more technical”.
However, it goes without saying that things have changed since then. “Twenty years ago, I was feisty, but my technique wasn’t as elaborate as it is now. Today, I’m much more technical. Over five minutes, I’m definitely better than I was back then. But over fifteen, we’ll have to see! With his last fight in the cage lasting just 15 seconds, many questions remain. But Gregory Bouchelaghem is certain of one thing: the audience will be there on January 26, at Le Zénith in Paris. “People like me, and I’m sure they’ll come to give me strength and support. It’s going to help me when I’m in the cage and the tiredness comes.”