As a child, many of us were brought up playing some type of sport. Some turned to football, baseball or basketball. Others followed down the path of hockey or even soccer. Regardless of the sport we fell in love with, the opportunities were laid right before our eyes. It was more of a choice as to how many sports we wanted to play, rather than if at all. However, this wasn’t the case for all of us.

Enter UFC welterweight Siyar Bahadurzada.

Bahadurzada, born and raised in Afghanistan, never had the option of playing a sport. In fact, life for Bahadurzada was much more difficult than for the average man. With no avenues to adventure down and so many closed doors, where does one turn?

“I literally had no opportunities as a child in Afghanistan,” admitted Bahadurzada in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “It wasn’t until I came to Holland when doors finally opened.

“I never, ever would have thought that I’d be in the place that I am right now. When I was a kid, my grandfather told me one day that I would make it big. He told me that he saw something different in me, that I was different than all the kids he knew. He told me that I was a special kid, and that always stuck with me, even in the hardest times. I never knew or could of thought I would have made it this big. All I knew was that I had passion for everything I ever did in life. Everything that I ever did, I wanted to be the best at it.

Bahadurzada (MMA Junkie)

“My grandfather raised me up from a young age. My father was a busy man and didn’t have a lot of time to spend with me. He was a businessman, so he was traveling a lot. My grandfather raised me up and taught me everything. He told me of all the things he’s done and shared all his experiences with me. He’s shared everything with me. I’m 28 years old, but I have an old man’s mind. He’s given me so much wisdom and he’s taught me everything I know.”

In such circumstances, one might run with the fame and fortune and never look back. One might choose to forget the hard times and difficult memories.

Not Bahadurzada.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Instead of stealing the limelight, Bahadurzada has a bigger dream than shining bright inside the walls of the Octagon. Instead, the Afghan native has a dream to change the lives of those living in his homeland, those who are currently in the same state that Bahadurzada was just years ago.

“My cause of fighting is to motivate and to give the kids in Afghanistan hope. The kids who need to see the light in their life, I’m here to try and give them hope. I was in their shoes and understand what it’s like to go through that. That’s my main cause of fighting. My cause of my fighting to myself is greater than my life cause. People appreciate what I do for the country and they view me as a national hero,” Bahadurzada said. “That’s the greatest honor for a sportsman to have.”

Bahadurzada will have yet another opportunity to represent Afghanistan when he meets Dong Hyun Kim in a welterweight showdown in Japan for UFC on Fuel: Silva vs. Stann. Bahadurzada enters the March 3 contest riding an electrifying seven-fight winning streak, six of which have been finished via knockout.

“I’ve fought in Japan twice now, and it’s huge to have the opportunity to come back and fight there. I respect my opponent’s grappling skill and his fighting skills. However, I don’t respect him as a person. I think he is too cocky and he doesn’t respect me. That’s the main reason why I don’t respect, and he will feel that,” admitted Bahadurzada. “He will feel that I do not respect him as a fighter when we get in the Octagon.

“His weakness is that he can get knocked out. That’s his weakness. Anyone who can get knocked out and fights me is in a lot of trouble. I think it will be a first-round knockout. My hand is feeling great and it’s actually stronger than it was before. My doctor cleared me about three weeks ago and I can go 100 percent. I’m really excited, because my right hand is my money-making hand. I was worried about it before because it was broken. Now I have a titanium plate and I’m ready to go.

“He might expect the right, but don’t be surprised if I knock him out with my left too. Even when I was hurt, I never stopped training even for one day. I used my left hand, my knees and my kicks. I’ll do whatever it takes to win this fight.”

Top Photo: Siyar Bahadurzada (Sherdog)