“Actually my middle name is Anthony. My first name is my African name Obinna, it means ‘God’s Heart’.”
Born on March 1st1980 in Nigeria, Obinna Anthony Njokuani was brought into this world destined to be fighter and a dancer. In 1983, his entire family traveled all the way from Lagos, Nigeria to the United States landing in the deep heart of Texas. Anthony’s family settled in beautiful city of Garland and struggled financially feeling the hardships of fitting in socially. Regardless, Texas is where Anthony discovered and found a love for Break Dancing and Martial Arts and the opportunity to improve his situation.
Anthony and his siblings were picked on and made fun by the kids in school from the beginning, especially the African-American kids. He told me some hurtful and harsh memories -“Me and my brothers and sisters would go to school in dress clothes and evening gowns and get teased all the time. We were called some really racist names like ‘African booty scratchers’, and by our own race too! It was very hard being made fun of all the time.” Anthony was picked on and bullied all thru growing up, until he found dancing.
Anthony Nijokuani fight name is “The Assassin”, but sometimes he is known as B.Boy Assassin. Little does the MMA world know that Anthony does not consider himself a B.Boy. He is a dancer and a lover of art and music such as Dubstep, Electro, House music, and Hip Hop. Anthony started dancing way before he learned to fight. When he was at the point to train full time for fighting, he had to put away the dancing and focus beating down the competition in MMA. I could hear in his voice that dancing was an important piece of his life that was forced to be put up on the shelf, for now.
At the age of 15, Anthony learned to Break Dance– “I started off going to a local dance school because I wanted to Breakdance with my friends. You had to take two electives to get a cheaper price, so the other class I chose was kickboxing. The martial arts teacher was from Thailand and wanted to open a Muay Thai gym. When he opened his new gym, he asked me to come train with him because I had potential. His name is Saekson Janjira, and he put me in my first fight.”
Anthony began training in Mixed Martial Arts at the age of 21. Known as a stand-up fighter, he trains in wrestling and is a blue belt in Judo. I asked him about his dreams of the UFC and what he feels it takes to get there- “I’m willing to learn what I need to learn and do what I need to do. Whatever it takes. Learning, growing, and mastering all of the arts is my main focus. Also winning.”
A month before Anthony turned 24 his father passed away from liver cancer. He tells me about the promise he told his dad before passing away- “Before he died, I told him that I would be a better person and live my life better. Go back to school. Focus. After that, I straightened up and stopped being bad. My brother and I were really bad kids.“ His brother Chidi (fight name is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) both straightened up after their fathers death and changed from being bad kids to training together in fighting. Together, they share a passion in MMA and have dreams of working on video blog diaries featuring skateboarding, dancing and other extreme sports.
Anthony “The Assasin” Njokuani will be fighting Thursday November 11th in Las Vegas at the WEC against newcomer Edward Faaloloto. With 12 wins out of 17 under his belt and 7 of those wins coming by way of TKO (Total Knock Out), Anthony is one only win away from fighting in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He has fought against many challenges for this chance of a lifetime and will finally prove to the bullies, haters, people who have doubted him and most of all himself
HAS DANCING HELPED YOU BECOME A BETTER FIGHTER? “I think that it has helped me a lot with my footwork. Being a part of the dancing world has helped me out in the MMA world. I’m smoother, lighter on my feet and I move a whole lot better than anybody else. I wish I could practice dancing more. I wish I could do both, but MMA is a full time job.”
ARE YOU AN ATHLETE OR AN ARTIST?: “As a fighter, I am an Athlete. But as a dancer, I am an artist”
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS IN FIGHTING?: “I want to make it and fight in the UFC. I want to do this for my mother, so I can take care of her and be the one that she can call when she needs help. I want to be there for her.”
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS IN LIFE?: “Maybe after two more fights, my brother and I want to create a video blog and post videos of us Dancing, Skateboarding, In-Line Skating, etc. Share what we like to do in addition to fighting and training. We want to be able to socialize and connect with all types of extreme athletes. Show that fighters are more diverse than people think.”
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST STRUGGLE?: “Staying on top of the fight game, especially since I’ve been in the WEC. With two losses that brought me down, getting this win will boost me up. That is my biggest struggle. When I was younger we didn’t have that much. My parents had to really struggle. It was a tough life. I was bullied and picked on all the time. That is definitely a reason why I started fighting and what gives me that fire to do my best.”
ANY ADVICE YOU WANT TO PASS ON?: “Always follow your dreams. Never ever let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve your dreams and goals. I have people in my life that still tell met I will never amount to anything. If I had listened to them, I would not be where I am today.”
WOULD YOU LIKE TO THANK ANYONE?: “I would like to thank my coaches/trainers One Kick Nick and Sergio Penha as well as my old coach, Saekson Janjira.”