FACT Check: Is Themba Gorimbo the first Zimbabwean UFC fighter?

Themba Gorimbo, Mike
Themba Gorimbo (L) and Mike Mathetha (R) (Image Courtesy - MMA Fighting, RNZ News)

Zimbabwean MMA fighter Themba Gorimbo recently went viral, after he put out a video talking about his journey. He spoke on the philanthropic efforts he was conducting back home in Zimbabwe, as well as the financial struggles he has had to endure.

At one point, Gorimbo revealed that he barely had $7 in his bank account. Furthermore, this was the case in the leadup to a UFC fight. Since then, he has received help from UFC star Colby 'Chaos' Covington, as well as Hollywood superstar, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson.

'The Rock' has gone as far as apparently buying Themba Gorimbo a house.

While Themba Gorimbo has found some well-deserved recognition, fans are left to wonder if he is the first Zimbabwean in the UFC.

Themba Gorimbo is not the only Zimbabwean to have fought under UFC banners. Another popular fighter, Mike Mathetha, better known as 'Blood Diamond' is also of Zimbabwean origin.

Mathetha became the first fighter from Zimbabwe to compete in the UFC when he took on Jeremiah Wells at UFC 271.

'Blood Diamond' currently trains out of City Kickboxing in New Zealand. He is training partners with some of the biggest names in the UFC, including the likes of Israel Adesanya, Alexander Volkanovski and Dan Hooker.

Themba Gorimbo is currently 11-4 in MMA, owns a gym in South Africa

Gorimbo currently holds a 11-4 record in MMA. He is signed to the UFC, and is 1-1 since entering the promotion. His most recent appearance in the octagon was against Takashi Sato in May of 2023, where he won by unanimous decision.

Speaking on his financial struggles, Gorimbo told MMA Mania:

"I own a gym in South Africa. The reason I am probably broke is not because I don't use my money wisely. It's because this gym does not make me money. This gym is like for African kids that I let them come and train in my gym for free."

Check out Gorimbo's interview with MMA Mania here:


Considering his goodwill, Gorimbo has finally begun to get the recognition he deserves, albeit outside the cage. If he is able to perform inside the octagon, the UFC may very well have a superstar on their hands.

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