36-year-old Hassan N’Dam, reeling from consecutive losses to Callum Smith and Fedor Chudinov, has his sights on a new venture: mixed martial arts. The former middleweight champion recently signed with ARES FC, “the first Afro-European MMA league,” ahead of his debut in the sport.
N’dam (37-5, 21 KO) calls ARES the “best MMA promotion in France,” explaining his choice to sign with them as a “need to be surrounded by the best.” ARES, created last year and currently enjoying France’s recent legalization of MMA, has been voraciously acquiring noteworthy talent recently, including UFC veterans Nordine Taleb, Eric Shelton, Danillo Belluardo, Will Brooks, and Wilson Reis.
It is currently unclear where the Cameroonian-Frenchman will train; the promotional video shows him sparring with Ciryl Gane, arguably the best heavyweight prospect in the sport and one who’s shown remarkably solid defensive wrestling despite a kickboxing background, but gives no sign as to whether that will be a permanent arrangement. I’d be surprised if fellow Cameroonian-Frenchman Francis Ngannou wasn’t involved in some capacity; Lord knows the big guy could use some boxing tips.
N’dam’s 15-year tenure in the ring saw him claim a number of titles and score notable victories over Avtandil Khurtsidze, Curtis Stevens, Alfonso Blanco, and Martin Murray. He’s seen a notable decline in recent times, though, suffering stoppage defeats to Ryota Murata and the aforementioned Smith. He has nowhere near enough time to develop the ground game necessary to be a world-beater, but I do not envy anyone who tries to throw hands with him in the cage.