FightBookMMA caught up with Taj ‘Black Spartan’ Abdul-Hakim ahead of his fight at ROC 62

Atlantic City (Wed, February 28, 2018)– This Friday, March 2nd, Ring of Combat will bring another night of action packed fights to the Tropicana Showroom in Atlantic City. Lou Neglia and Dead Serious MMA have put together 5 title fights on this card. None more exciting, in my opinion, than the welterweight tilt between Taj ‘Black Spartan’ Abdul-Hakim (6-1), and Bradley ‘Featherstone’ Desir (10-5).

We got a chance to speak with Taj. Here’s our conversation.

Hey Taj how’s it going?

Good, man. Just finished my work out.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us.

No problem man.

So you’ll be defending your National Welterweight title this weekend. Is 170 close to your walking around weight?

I like 170. Me getting down to 155 would be tricky because my legs are really big. Funny enough, I used to fight at 185, but I’m short, you know. I fought some giants at 185. A lot of my amateur career, I fought at heavyweight and middleweight.

When I got to kick boxing, I fought at 185. My first pro mma fight was at 185.

Both you and Bradley fought on the same card at Ring of Combat 54. It was a big night for future UFC stars. Gregor Gillespie, Brian Kelleher, Julio Arce, Mike Santiago were all on that card and are now in the UFC.

Gregor is killing it right now! He is really crushing it right now. I’m really happy for him.

It took Julio years, man. I remember me and Julio used to compete as amateurs in the Assylum Fight League, back in the day. It was a very long time coming for him. I was happy that he got in to the UFC.

The interesting thing for me is that Bradley also won a belt that night. He hasn’t made it to the UFC yet, but he had an impressive showing on the Bellator NYC card. You’ve got to be feeling like an impressive win over him, in a title fight, has got to put you on the UFC’s radar, right?

Absolutely. Especially a guy that has been around, and has been putting people away like he has, that would be a big deal for me.

So tell me a bit about your pedigree as a martial artist. What skills and techniques are the components that make up The Black Spartan.

I’ve been doing Martial Arts since I was 4, and I’m 29, so a long time and a lot of different martial arts.

I started with Shindo Ryu Karate, then I did Tae Kwon Do for a while; I did Shotokan. Then I did Combat Hapkido. Then when I was, like, seventeen or eighteen, I got in to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and started doing grappling competitions, Judo competitions. I started competing in MMA when I was nineteen.

You love using your Judo and display it beautifully in a lot of your fights.

Yes, but I don’t force it. I let it happen. I never force it. Even when it comes to my boxing, I just let it happen. Obviously I make sure I don’t get hit, hahah, but I let it come to me.

What do you know of Bradley and the skills that are part of his makeup?

I know he is very, very powerful. He usually breaks what he hits. I’m just going to keep it 100 and keep it real with you, he’s a destroyer. Everything he throws, he’s trying to break whatever he hits; your ribs, our arm if you’re blocking, your leg, your whatever. He can take a hit. And he’s got a very underrated ground game.

What aspect of your game, do you think, will deliver the edge for you in this fight?

I’d say my footwork, and my technical aspects.

How have you envisioned the fight playing out?

I mean, everybody wants a finish, but again, if it comes, it comes. I’ll take what I can get. The W is the most important thing. I know he wants to knock me out or submit me, and I’m going to try and do the same to him. Keeping that strap is what’s important.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. I have to say this is the fight I am most excited about Friday night.

I wanted to ask you how you envisioned this fight going.

As soon as the fight was announced, I couldn’t wait. I’ve seen both of you fight before. I’ve seen both of you run through people, and I’m honestly just excited to see a really high-level fight.

Well, good. Thank you.

Thank you, Taj for taking the time to speak with us. See you at the fights.

Check out our interview with Badley ‘Featherstone’ Desir by going here.

Interview By: Mozz Manzoor


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