Cape Town - EFC welterweight contender Conrad Seabi says it’s tough for
someone from the location to rise to the top in South African mixed martial
arts, and gives credit to Nkazimulo Zulu and Luthando Biko for their exploits.
Mamelodi-born Seabi is close to a title shot in Africa’s premier
MMA promotion, as he currently prepares to face Brazilian Jose da Rocha on the
main card of EFC 76 at Time Square in Pretoria on December 8.
The 39-year-old was a late starter in MMA, but boasts extensive
combat sports experience dating back to his teens.
Speaking to Alastair Bishop on
the BigAl MMA Podcast, Seabi said he has around 200
combined fights in various disciplines, including karate, kickboxing and Muay
Seabi, though, struggled with the ground game when he
transitioned to MMA, losing three of his first four outings in the cage.
However, he has since won five out of six, with the sole loss
coming by decision against interim 77kg champion Gunther Kalunda (5-0) a year
At an age when most athletes have called time, Seabi is fueled
by something greater than a desire for competition.
“It is the kids that are coming behind me,” Seabi told Bishop.
“It is (about) being a good role model for the kids, especially
from where I come from, from Mamelodi. I can say I’m the first guy from
Mamelodi to be on the EFC, so it’s a big thing you know. People never, as I
said before, never thought ... This is another sport it is not easy for a
location boy to be on top. It’s not easy. It’s not because of racism, no, it’s
tough. That’s not how we grew up doing wrestling and grappling. So to be able
to manage to go there, it’s a big thing. So what motivates me is the support
that I get, especially from young kids. I’m an inspiration for lots of kids.”
Seabi went on to salute Zulu, who hails from Newcastle,
KwaZulu-Natal, and Kwazakhele’s Biko for their inspirational achievements in
Zulu - the first and only South African to compete in the UFC’s
Ultimate Fighter Series in 2016 - reasserted his pedigree by defending his EFC
flyweight crown for the third time at Gary Joshua’s expense in Cape Town on
On the same card, Biko won the interim bantamweight belt with a
dominant display against Englishman Callum Ellenor. ‘Shorty’ received a hero’s
welcome on his return to Port Elizabeth International Airport in the Eastern
“The first thing that I’m targeting is to show even small boys
that are doing crime, that are doing things that are not supposed to be done,
you can do whatever you want, especially with your mind, with focus, and
staying positive,” Seabi said.
“Luthando Biko and also Zulu, what they did, both of them, after
winning the titles and going to the location. You know it’s a big thing, it’s a
big achievement. Honestly speaking, it’s very rare to get someone doing that in
the location. So it motivates me a lot, especially fighting someone from
Brazil, that’s giving me motivation.”