- DOB: September 5th, 1980
- Nickname: Smash
- Gym: Fortis MMA
- Location: Dallas, TX
- Martial Arts Background: Judo/Karate
- Martial Arts Record(s): 3-0(MMA)
- Notable Fighters: Macy Chiasson, Geoff Neal, Diego Ferreira, Uriah Hall
Sayif Saud’s early martial arts experience
Sayif Saud started his martial arts journey at the age of 3 learning Shorin-Ryu Karate from his father. Saud practically grew up in martial arts gyms and training has always been a part of his life.
During his time learning under his father, Sayif would win 4 national titles at the USKK Nationals. His father would award him with his black belt at the 1997 national championship.
At the same time, Saud was also a high level competitor in Judo. Winning two Texas state titles to go along with his championships in Karate.
Sayif Saud’s time in college
After graduating from high school, Saud would take a break from competing and focus on his academics. Graduating from Indiana University-Bloomington with a political science degree. Then Sayif would attend law school at Indiana University’s law school in Indianapolis.
During this time, Saud would also get into the competitive bodybuilding scene. Winning several competitions and was featured on a few different bodybuilding magazines.
Even though Saud would accomplish all of these things his passion was still with martial arts.
Sayif Saud trains at Jackson-Wink MMA
Sayif’s passion for martial arts led him to want to be a competitor with the ultimate goal of being a coach. This led him to grow, train and learn under Greg Jackson at Jackson-Wink MMA from 2006-2009.
He would sit under the learning tree of the Jackson-Wink coaching staff during this time. Learning every facet of MMA from some of the world’s best coaches.
Saud would learn game planning and philosophy with Greg Jackson and amateur wrestling with UFC vet Mike Van Arsdale. During this time, Saud would also try his hand at competing at MMA and grappling.
Nicknamed “Smash”, Saud would go undefeated as an amateur and win numerous grappling competitions. Including a 2nd place finish at Grapplers Quest.
Sayif would then make his pro MMA debut and have 3 fights from 2007-2008. Going 3-0 during this time with two wins by submission and TKO.
Unfortunately for Saud, he would suffer a career ending injury that would force him to stop competing. He would spend one more year learning under Jackson’s camp before moving off on his own.
Sayif Saud’s time at Octagon MMA
Sayif would move back to his home in Dallas in 2009 and begin coaching at Octagon MMA. In the 5+ years Saud was the head coach, Saud made Octagon MMA one of the premiere gyms in Texas.
He would coach his team to a 40-5 record in 2011 and incrementally grow the gym every year he was there. Also winning numerous local and state MMA awards for his accomplishments at the gym.
Sayif Saud opens Fortis MMA
In 2015, Saud had accomplished everything he could at Octagon MMA and wanted to open his own place. He would partner with ex Dallas Maverick player and his student Deron Williams.
The two would invest in a state of the art MMA training center that would open in Deep Ellum. Around the downtown club district of Dallas.
From there, Saud would begin building an up and coming world class MMA team. Starting on smaller promotions, Saud would build his team to over a dozen UFC fighters.
His approach is very simple and very team oriented. Saud pushes his fighters hard in training, while also pushing the importance of team first.
He demands that his fighters stay in the gym constantly to stay ready and help their teammates. This is the only way he feels that his team can continue to progress and for his fighters to evolve.
It appears to be a winning strategy as his roster of UFC fighters has dramatically increased. As of now, Fortis MMA has over 5 fighters in the top 15 of different UFC divisions.
From the success the gym has had, it only appears that this number will go up in the future.
Coach Saud has grown his team into quite a respectable group of MMA fighters. Here are some of his more notable fighters that are currently in the UFC.
Geoff “Handz of Steel” Neal has become one of the most exciting prospects in the UFC’s welterweight division. He is a Texas native that played football before transitioning to MMA
Neal would play college football at Texas Lutheran University before quitting the program to pursue an MMA career. Saud would train Neal at Octagon MMA and has been with him ever since.
As an amateur, Neal would go 8-2 and win amateur titles before going pro. In 2012, he made his pro debut in the welterweight division and won by RNC in the first round.
Geoff would compete within smaller promotions from 2012-2017 as a welterweight and pro. Going 7-2 during this run before being invited to compete on Dana White’s Contender Series.
He would win his match at the event by TKO to earn a contract with the UFC. Then upon entering the promotion, Neal would go on a tear in the welterweight division.
Going a stellar 5-0 in his first five fights with the promotion. This includes wins over Belal Muhammad and two incredible TKO wins ove Niko Price and Mike Perry.
Since then Neal has dropped to tough decision losses to Stephen Thompson and Neil Magny. He is currently looking to get back in the win column and continue his hunt for a title shot.
Macy Chiasson is currently the #11 ranked fighter in the UFC women’s bantamweight division. Before Chiasson got into MMA, she played softball in high school.
But at 19, she would get injured in a severe car accident and look to MMA training to help her recover. Macy would begin attending Krav Maga classes at Triumph Krav Maga to help with her rehab.
She loved the aggression and physicality of training, so began training more and wanted to compete in MMA. This would lead her to move to MidCity MMA in New Orleans, Louisiana to begin her MMA training.
After fighting as an amateur for a few years, she would make her pro debut in 2017. Going 2-0 in her first two fights.
Chiasson would then get invited on the Ultimate Fighter Season 28. On the show, she would win both of her fights by TKO to make it to the finals at the TUF: Heavy Hitters finale.
Macy would win in the finals against Pannie Kianzad to earn a UFC contract. She would continue to impress and win her next two fights by TKO. Putting her right in the top ten of the division.
She would suffer her first loss in 2019 against Lina Lansberg, but has since bounced back with two wins. Chiasson has shown to be among the best in the division and will continue to improve.
Carlos Diego Ferreira
The Brazilian UFC veteran has been competing in MMA and Jiu Jitsu for a long time. He began training Jiu Jitsu when he was ten years old and won numerous tournaments as a kid and teen.
Ferreira would move to the US in 2008 to take his shot at becoming a BJJ champion. In competitions, Ferreira would do well, but never good enough to become a champion.
So to make a living off of Jiu Jitsu, he opened his own academy in Pharr, Texas. At the same time, Carlos also started taking MMA fights.
From 2011-2013, Carlos would go 9-0 and win two titles for two different promotions. This was capped off by beating MMA veteran Jorge Patino.
He would then make his debut in the UFC in 2014 and beat Colton Smith by RNC. Carlos would impress again in his second UFC fight before losing 2 straight. One to top 5 lightweight Beneil Darush and former interim champ Dustin Poirier.
Ferriera would bounce back from these two losses and go on a 6 fight win streak. The last being a submission win over former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.
Since then, Ferriera lost a rematch to Darush and a TKO loss to Gregor Gillespie. Currently with a record of 17-4 Ferreira is looking to get back into the win column.
One of the latest members of Fortis MMA is perennial UFC middleweight contender Uriah Hall. Uriah has had a long MMA career and has been a fan favorite since his famous spin kick KO in TUF.
Since joining Fortis MMA with coach Saud, Hall is 3-1 with 2 TKO wins. Hall seems to have revived his career training under Saud and will look for another good run.
Sayif Saud’s legacy
At only 41 years old Saud has created a very respectable MMA gym in his home of Dallas, Texas. Fortis MMA is home to nearly 20 UFC fighters and even more upcoming fighters.
The gym has won many regional MMA titles, but are still searching for their first UFC title. A goal that Saud and his team will look to accomplish in the future.