Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fighter A-Z: Xavier Foupa-Pokam

Originally posted on FourOuncesToFreedom.com

Xavier Foupa-Pokam is a rare breed of fighter. French born and bred isn't something you hear a lot when it comes to describing mixed martial artists. Every UFC fan knows Cheick Kongo, but even he doesn't train in his home country. "Professor X" is very proud of France, and until recently his goal was to show every European fan what French fighters could do. Now, he's getting the chance to show North American fans the same thing.

Xavier's martial arts training started with karate in the suburbs of Paris when he was 11. After years of training he became interested in expanding into other disciplines, but his instructor wasn't happy about that, thinking it would mess with his focus at karate tournaments. Eventually Foupa-Pokam burned out on karate and decided to take up another martial art that had always interested him - Thai Boxing. After some research, Xavier went to meet the man that later became his mentor - Cyril "The Snake" Diabate.

Around the time that Professor X joined the gym, Diabate had converted the previously striking-only gym into a full-fledged MMA gym. Despite the emphasis on MMA, a lot of Diabate's proteges were very similar in terms of skillset - tall, long-limbed strikers. Xavier fit in quite nicely. There was one small problem with an MMA camp in France though - MMA wasn't legal there. They couldn't even fight in their home country. This led to Foupa-Pokam taking fights in places like Switzerland, Hungary, South Africa, and Sweden. The country he fought in most, however, was England.

Click here to read the entire article at FourOuncestoFreedom.com

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