Practising martial arts requires a lot of sacrifices
Soon to face Paul-Emmanuel Gnaze for the HEXAGONE MMA world heavyweight title on June 17 in Reims, Prince Aounallah is far from a cliché in his weight category, which often favours the heavy hitters. Strategic and thoughtful, he knows perfectly how to excute a win.
Prince Aounallah does not do anything by halves. So inevitably, as soon as he discovered MMA, he threw himself into it without hesitation.
“When I started, at 20 years old, I put everything in it, and I put myself in it 100%. At that time, even my work and my private life took a back seat,” he explains today, with the hindsight of a thirty-year-old.
However, it was difficult to live from a passion then forbidden in France. “We always had to go abroad, we won ridiculous scholarships, we had no follow-up … It was complicated, and it didn’t pay any return on my investment.”
Yet, even if he did not achieve his desired results, Prince Aounallah does not regret for a single second to have thrown himself body and soul into this adventure.
“As a man, practising martial arts at this level requires values and a lot of sacrifices. During this time, I have evolved and learned a lot about myself. If I had to do it again, I would do it again with pleasure.”
“My strong point is my combat intelligence”
After such a commitment to his discipline, the Frenchman felt one day the need to pause. So he took three years to himself. His three years without fighting were marked among other things by the lockdown period, the birth of his children and some weight gain, which now pushes him towards the heavyweight category, that of his idol Fedor Emilianenko. Moreover, his affiliation with the Russian does not stop his weight. Like him, Prince Aounallah started martial arts with sambo, although he quickly converted to MMA.
“I think I’m a rounded fighter. I don’t have a favourite area of the fight since I’ve always practised all aspects. On the other hand, my strong point, I would say is my combat intelligence. I always manage to adapt, to establish the right strategies… I’m not Jon Jones, but I’m getting by!”
Far from the cliché of heavyweights, armed only with a good right, Prince Aounallah intends to do more damage than that.