Khalid Ismail a British Moroccan MMA Champion, (WAKO 2005, 2007, 2008 British Heavyweight Champion and BASMAA British Champion 1998-2001).
Khalid sarted Karate at the tender age of five, and went on to train in kickboxing. He added Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to his repertoire in 2000, followed by Olympic freestyle wrestling in 2001, he now competes in both these disciplines. In 2010 Khalid secured victory in just 8 seconds vs Wayne Brown.
Ismail runs the LDG gyms in Essex which caters for youngsters. He also gives talks to young people about the benefits of martial arts.
You were born and brought up in London; Where are you originally from in Morocco and do you go back and visit often? Yes I was born in London. I’m originally from Meknes in Morocco. I go back home at least once a year.
What is your favourite City in Morocco and Why? My Favourite city of course would have to be Meknes. But I do Love going around Morocco in particular Marrakesh because of the heat although I do like Tangier’s cool breeze from the sea.
What was it that made you want to become a MMA fighter? Fighting is something I have known and been doing since the age of five. It is a part of my life and who I am. I enjoy it. I have transitioned into MMA fighting gradually as it came naturally from other fights and competitions that I have competed in in the past.
Is there anything that you bring from your Moroccan background to your Fighting? I don’t think the country you come from has much to do with fighting but maybe more to do with how you train yourself to become well-disciplined in all the factors to do with fighting to become the best.
How important is it for you to stay connected to Morocco and Moroccan culture? I Love my religion and Moroccan culture and it plays a huge part in my life. I love the food, the country itself and the culture is brilliant too. I think it is important to stay connected to your background as it helps moulds into who you are. We can not forget who we are or where we come from.
Not only are you great champion but you are also a great businessman; you have opened 2 gym centres with amazing training equipments at a very affordable prices. Why is that? I needed a place to train with everything I wanted in one place. So I opened my own gym and later on expanded where I could share what I loved to do with everyone else.
You have also looked into training youngsters, how important is this for you? This is one of the things I love about what I do. Influencing youngsters in a positive way and helping them achieve and reach their goals. I think it is extremely important to instil self-discipline from a young age as I believe it helps them make better decisions.
If you could, what else would you like to do for the Moroccan community in London? I would like to see more events take place and attend them to get everybody together and feel a part of something.
And finally, when your relaxing, tell us where you go to eat the best Moroccan food in London? That is a good question. There are a few places I like to eat Moroccan food. MoMo’s off Regents street is a good place to eat and I like Mamounia Lounge in Mayfair.
Visit KhalidIsmail.com website for more info.