Pakistan’s Waqar “Psycho” Umar dreams of becoming one of the world’s great martial artists.
That dream began as a youngster, when he took up the art of wushu, and now he’s looking to take his skills to the highest level as part of ONE Championship.
The 26-year-old from Lahore grew up in affluent surroundings, but his family struggled financially. So much so, in fact, that Umar left education aged just 10 to work at his dad’s hardware store and help his family earn enough money to make ends meet.
“I am from a normal background. My childhood was like many others,” he told ONE Championship.
“We had some financial struggles growing up, and I used to see that. So from then, I started to help my father in the shop, and started earning money.
“I have seen many tough things in life, but I have learned one thing — that one should try to stay happy no matter what the circumstances are.”
Having to work from an unusually early age has instilled a prodigious work ethic in Umar, and that work ethic has remained a constant throughout his martial arts career.
“I always wanted to do sports,” Umar recalled.
“I started wushu at the age of 16. My brother used to do it, and from there I got this interest.”
Martial arts eventually took Umar out of his father’s store, and into ONE Championship. He made his martial arts debut in 2012 on the domestic scene in Pakistan, but two years later, he got the call-up to compete on the world’s biggest stage in ONE.
Since joining the organisation, Umar has faced some of the promotion’s best in Amir Khan, Peter Davis, and Benedict Ang. Now he plans on breaking out and becoming a star of his own, starting on Saturday, 24 March, when he meets China’s Zhao Zhi Kang in a featherweight tilt at ONE: IRON WILL.
After a year and a half away from the cage, Umar says he’s ready to jump back into the cage and shine under the lights in Bangkok.
“I have been training and waiting for a match to come so I can prove myself,” the Pakistani combatant says. “Seriously, I never look at my opponent’s weakness. I will see his skills in the cage. It will be a good match.”