Osamah Almarwai is ready to step into the spotlight when ONE Championship arrives on U.S. soil on Friday, May 5, for ONE Fight Night 10. The Atos BJJ star has been lighting it up on the grappling scene and now gets his crack at Mikey Musumeci and the ONE Flyweight Submission Grappling World Championship. But his come-up started at home.
His parents kept him focused on his schoolwork. Almarwai credits them for helping lay the foundation for his discipline, which has paid off in his athletic pursuits as well as academically. He holds a Master’s degree in engineering management while also being one of the world’s preeminent grapplers.
“I was a straight-A student. I was very good at school. I think that helped me a lot in terms of discipline with jiu-jitsu because I was very disciplined in school. And vice versa, jiu-jitsu helped me with school and finishing my engineering degree because I was trying to get schoolwork done so that I could train. On the weekend, I would study and try to do all my homework so I could train during the week,” Almarwai told ONE.
The Yemeni grappler has always been supported by his parents. Although he lost his mother in 2015 to pancreatic cancer, Almarwai’s father is still actively championing his son throughout his career. And his next bout has him excited about the possibility of his son becoming a World Champion.
But Almarwai never envisioned going for gold. He never even had dreams of securing a black belt. He merely wanted to compete at a high level. It wasn’t until a camp at Atos that he began thinking about ascending to the sport’s apex.
“Actually, I didn’t have big dreams, to be honest with you, in the colored belts. I just wanted to compete. And then, as a brown belt, I started taking training seriously because I was training at the best academy. My first camp at Atos was the ADCC camp in 2019. It was a very tough camp. So I was like, ‘Why can’t I win a World Championship if I’m training with the best? It doesn’t get harder than this.’ I was telling myself it doesn’t get harder than Atos,” the 30-year-old said.
Almarwai took gold at the 2021 IBJJF No-Gi World Championships, and everything was looking up for the Yemeni talent. But after receiving his black belt, suddenly, he stumbled. Even though he began questioning himself, Andre Galvao and the rest of his Atos team were there to lift him back up.
“I remember the [IBBJF] Gi Worlds. I think I got third place after winning No-Gi Worlds as a brown belt. And it was hard, man, because I’m at the top. How did I lose? And that’s what’s great about Atos. You have people who’ve been through the process. We have [ADCC World Champion] Kaynan Duarte, we have the Ruotolos, you have Professor Galvao. We have so many top-level guys, and you talk to them, and they’re like, ‘This is normal for an athlete. You always go up and down, but you do your best.’ I just overcame that and kept competing as a black belt,” recalled Almarwai.
Coming into the battle at ONE Fight Night 10, Almarwai will also be carrying in the hopes of a region. The 30-year-old is excited to be the Middle Eastern representative of grappling on a global platform. After receiving a litany of messages showing their support, he knows he can continue inspiring the next generation with his performance.
“I didn’t know I was inspiring other people because I just trained and competed. I really like that I have a lot of support back home. And when this fight was announced, man, people were just going crazy in the Middle East, just messaging me, tagging me in their photos. Through all the hardships, what motivates me is now knowing that a lot of people back home, in the Middle East, are looking up to me. So I have to be an example on not giving up,” said the Yemeni star.
Now, Almarwai is one step away from ultimate glory. It is a dream debut. He is thrilled to be a part of the first U.S. show in ONE history and is excited for the opportunity of a lifetime.
“I’m very honored to be part of the history of ONE Championship now because it’s a historic moment. The first event in the U.S., and I’m fighting on the main card in a World Title fight. I mean, it doesn’t get better than this.”
ONE Fight Night 10 airs live on Prime Video on Friday, May 5, at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST. The event is free to all Amazon Prime members in the U.S. and Canada. Limited tickets are still available via Axs.com.