Upstart MMA promotion ARES FC announced Monday that it has signed former WBO and WBA boxing champion Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, who intends to begin a career inside the mixed martial arts cage.
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N’Dam, 36, has a championship pedigree inside the squared circle; he amassed a 37-5 record as a professional, winning 21 of his 37 victories by way of stoppage, and captured interim WBO middleweight title and WBA middleweight title, among other accolades.
The multi-time Olympian has fought the likes of David Lemieux, Ryōta Murata, and Callum Smith over the course of his 15-year professional career. His last professional boxing match was a loss to Fedor Chudinov in December of 2019.
N’Dam competed at both middleweight (154-160 lbs) and super-middleweight (160-168 lbs) in boxing, likely placing him in the lightweight or welterweight divisions in MMA.
In a promotional video for ARES FC announcing his signing, N’Dam said, “First signature, I went with ARES, simply because you have to sign with the big guys. ARES is for me the best MMA promotion in France,” according to translated captioning of his remarks.
ARES FC ambassador Ciryl Gane, a UFC heavyweight prospect who spars with N’Dam during the video, said, “Signing at ARES, personally, if I was not in the UFC, ARES would be my first target.”
Gane, 30, trains at Factory MMA under the tutelage of Fernand Lopez, who serves as ARES FC’s executive sporting manager. He is also managed by Lopez.
The French-Cameroonian N’Dam is a picture-perfect signing for ARES FC, a promotion that describes itself as “the first Afro-European MMA league” on its official website.
It is not the first time that ARES FC has made a splash by signing a future MMA debutant, either, notably making waves after announcing the arrival of Reug Reug, a hulking Senegalese wrestler who successfully transitioned to MMA at ARES’ first event.
ARES FC has been active in signing fighters despite an eventless stretch brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the cancellation of multiple shows from the promotion.
On Saturday, ARES announced the signings of UFC veterans Eric Shelton and Danilo Bellaurdo, adding to an impressive stable of notable names for such a young promotion.
To date, ARES has also signed the likes of former Bellator champion Will Brooks, UFC standouts Nordine Taleb and Juan Adams, and ex-UFC title challenger Wilson Reis.
Michael Fiedel is The Body Lock's deputy editor, a staff writer for FloCombat, and a Russell-Rice scholarship recipient at Vanderbilt University.