The Sunday Mail
NOT many sport lovers would know Themba Gorimbo, yet this warrior from Masvingo has achieved what no other Zimbabwean has achieved before.
Nicknamed “The Answer”, Gorimbo’s life story reads more like a fiction film.
In fact, his passion for mixed martial arts (MMA), which has given him international recognition, was influenced by an action movie he watched during his childhood in Masvingo.
The 28-year-old Gorimbo is the new Extreme Fighting Championship welterweight champion.
He became the first Zimbabwean to achieve such a feat when he overpowered Luke Michael during the EFC 82 event held at the Carnival City in Johannesburg on September 28.
Last night, he was one of the guests at a dinner hosted for the winners by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Headquartered in Johannesburg, EFC is a global leading MMA organisation which annually produces 10 live events at sold out arenas.
EFC events are broadcast on numerous television networks to over 600 million households in over 120 countries, thereby making the EFC one of the most recognisable MMA brands in the world.
That’s how big Gorimbo is now.
And yet, the Zimbabwean champion, who at one time lived on the streets of Johannesburg, is taking all the fame in his stride.
“It feels really normal to be a champion because I have worked for a long time for this. l visualized this so many times, so it’s normal now that it is a reality,” Gorimbo told The Sunday Mail Sport from his South African base.
“My EFC journey started after watching the movie ‘Never Back Down’. I told myself that I could do what the main actor in that film, Sean Faris, was doing,” he revealed. Gorimbo grew up in Masvingo before crossing the border into South Africa.
But life was not so rosy on the other side of Limpopo.
He lived on the streets of Johannesburg with his younger brother Takunda, moving from place to place until they found refuge at a Johannesburg church.
Soon afterwards, the brothers moved to Cape Town.
This is where Gorimbo discovered his love for MMA .
He started training at Panther Fighting Arts and Fitness Academy.
“My motivation to succeed was fuelled as I watched future competitors train along the beach front in Cape Town whilst I fought to make ends meet as a gardener.
“During this time I was competing as an amateur, pushing for my first big win in order to get to the EFC Hexagon,” said Gorimbo.
After getting his first EFC contest, Gorimbo went on a five-fight winning streak. He now has an 8-2-0 record after defeating Michael.
“You cannot curse hard work, I have worked very hard for this. I want to be the best welterweight fighter,” said Gorimbo.
“Ever since my first professional fight against Sydney Mokgolo, which I won with a dislocated shoulder, I have never looked back. That made me believe in the power of never giving up,” he said.
Gorimbo revealed that he will be donating R30 000 from his prize money towards the payment of school fees for underprivileged children in Masvingo.