Zimbabwean UFC fighter Themba Gorimbo had just $7 to his name ahead of his latest fight. It was clear that a victory for the 32-year-old would mean a lot more than just a statistic on his record.
Gorimbo’s latest bout saw him earn a vital win against Japenses fighter Takashi Sato in Las Vegas. However, only the fighter himself knew how important the victory really was.
Born in Zimbabwe before moving to South Africa as a teenager, Gorimbo had a tough upbringing. Both his parents passed away before he turned 14-years-old and he almost met the same fate after being bitten by a dog while working on diamond fields.
Speaking about his upbringing to Mirror Fighting, he said: “I’ve seen crazy stuff at a very young age, people dying in front of me. When I worked on the diamond fields the police used to shoot live bullets at people. Even people within the community who were smuggling the diamonds used to kill each other.”
Gorimbo managed to move to Miami after reaching out to MMA Masters coach Daniel Valverde. The fighter slept on the mats in the gym before earning his first UFC fight against AJ Fletcher in February.
Fletcher would end up winning the fight after tapping out Gorimbo, but ‘The Answer’ bounced back to earn a tough win by decision aginst Sato. With just $7 to his name at the time it came as a relief to record such a vital victory.
Speaking to the media after his first UFC win, he said: “I’ve been broke. I came to America seven weeks ago without money. I only had enough money to fly, get to the airport to the gym, stayed at the gym, and then a friend sent me $200.
“It’s been a roller coaster. I didn’t have money, if you look at my bank account there’s $7 right now. In my bank account, there’s $7, and I have to enjoy this. I don’t know how much I’m getting paid. All I’ve been focused on for this fight was to get the win. The win was the most important thing, the money is the byproduct of getting the win.”
The Zimbabwean’s story has recently caught the world’s attention, including celebrities such as Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Posting on Twitter, The Rock said: ‘This is f’n crazy to see and brings back many emotions and memories.
‘$7.49 in this fighter’s bank account. I once had $7 bucks too. I’ve been there on that grind. Got your back, brother. I’ll help. You got this. I’ll be in touch @TheAnswerMMA #hardestworkersintheroom’
After overcoming such adversities, Gorimbo is not wanting to stop anytime soon. The fighter now sets his eyes on becoming the first Zimbabwean fighter to win a UFC world title, something he hopes to achieve by the end of 2024.