20 for 20 with Themba “The Answer” Gorimbo

The year 2019 has been a great year for African Mixed Martial Artists, and sadly I think great is an understatement. From Kamuru Usman’s annihilation of Tyrone Woodley to Francis Ngannou cementing his position as the next man up to challenge for the heavyweight title. Or even when you look at Israel Adesanya’s year, best Kevin Gastelum in what could easily be the fight of the year to be the interim champion. Then he absolutely demolished Robert Whittaker.

Closer to home Zimbabwe’s own Themba Gorimbo won the EFC title in September 2019 when he defeated Luke Michael in stunning fashion. This was a sign that African had another star in the making as the charismatic Zimbabwean captivated the promotion and became the frontman. In 2020 he had an equally stunning title defense when he squared up last month with Lyle Karam and scored a dominant second-round submission at EFC 84.

Every promotion needs this kind of fighter, a man or woman who can marry superior fighting skills with incredibly polarizing ability to talk trash. There is more to him though, and if you just follow him in the press and not on his various social media accounts you may miss the fact that Themba is a humble man whose roots run deep in the rich soils of Bikita, Zimbabwe. You may also miss the fact that he is a man who always makes a pilgrimage to his rural home after a victory. You may miss the fact that he gives back to the school pupils in the area who like many of their peers in Zimbabwe need a hand. You may also miss the work he puts in behind the scenes, the numerous children he motivates through his work at an Ultimate MMA Fitness in Kyalami. You would also miss a critical component that makes the man, his amazing mentality Themba knowingly or unknowingly inspires many with his mentality like his idol, Kobe Bryant, did. Although he and his idol were continents apart, he constantly preached the importance of preparation and self-belief, sadly they are now separated by death, but Themba has not stopped speaking with Mamba Mentality. It is, therefore, my absolute pleasure to bring you Themba Gorimbo.

1PM: Tell me about yourself. It is a dreaded question that seems to not have a blueprint on how to respond to it. That said I will lead with it. Please tell us about yourself.
TG:

2PM: Tell me about your upbringing in Bikita. How was Themba Gorimbo as a child and what were your parents like?
TG:

3PM: I am a big MMA fan, have been for a better part of the past eight years. That said I have noticed that some fighters fight angry, some fighters fight are cerebral, and others are downright showmen. How would you say you fight?
TG:

4PM: Catch us up on your journey to the EFC, how did you land your first fight?
TG:

5PM: You have not had many, so I know the feeling is not familiar. But how do you deal with defeats?
TG:

6PM: When did you realise that MMA was for you?
TG:

7PM: What martial arts discipline do you practice if any? And how many years have you been practicing it?
TG:

8PM: I have been following you on social media for the past four years. You have been speaking and preaching Mamba Mentality before it was fashionable. How did you take the passing of one of your sporting idols Mr Kobe Bryant?
TG:

9PM: When did you realise that you were talented and could be a champion one day?
TG:

10PM: Anyone who follows you on social media will know you are a patriot and an ambassador for Zimbabwe. Describe your love for the motherland, and why it is hard to hide it, we all know it’s not always easy to represent a foreign land in South Africa.
TG:

11PM: How did you get into martial arts?
TG:

12PM: Walk me through your pre-fight routine please.
TG:

13PM: You speak a lot of about going to the UFC and becoming the first African to win a title training and competing out of Africa. How close would you say you are from your UFC debut?
TG:

14PM: You get very animated and vocal at times at your press conferences. Are your press conferences with a script or is it all instincts?
TG:

15PM: You are the reigning Zimbabwe Sports Person of The Year. How did it feel receiving such recognition? Especially because our nation is a big footballing nation and there has always been a feeling that the limelight shines brighter on soccer stars.
TG:

16PM: You live and breathe fighting; you are a true student of the sport. Who are your top ten fighters in the world right now?
TG:

17PM: After your latest title defence you put some of your fight gear on auction, with the intention to donate the proceeds to young children from your native Bikita. I know its an awkward question, because I know you are quite private, but tell me about your charitable causes and feel free to tell the world how they can contribute to them.
TG:

18PM: Based on my eye test you walk around looking quite light. How gruel is it to make weight for you?
TG:

19PM: UFC 249 is scheduled for 18 April, who were you backing in the original main event Nurmagomedov v Ferguson? Also, who walks out the interim champ when Ferguson fights Gaethje and why?
TG:

20PM: We have four top African talents in the UFC who hail from West Africa, they are among a bigger pool of North and West Africans. I know of South African, Frans Mlambo who is a bantamweight signed to Bellator in Europe. My question is how would you grade the quality of fighters in Southern Africa?
TG:

The story of Themba Gorimbo is far from over and I am happy that we have added a version to it in the twenty questions we have been allowed to ask.

Thanks, to you Themba, and a massive thanks to you the reader for reading this.

Philani Mukwakwami

FOUNDER

Sports are a hobby horse of mine, what happens in-between the lines is just as thrilling as what happens outside of them.