Mikey Musumeci, widely recognized as one of the premier grapplers in the world, has signaled his interest in making his MMA debut towards the latter part of 2024. This transition has been on the horizon since he inked a contract with ONE Championship. While the initial motive was to pursue a championship in their submission grappling division, it’s no secret that ONE Championship encourages specialists to venture into MMA. Musumeci has wholeheartedly embraced this concept and has even initiated Muay Thai training shortly after his promotional debut.
In the interim, Musumeci remains committed to submission grappling, where he has proven to be exceptional. He has even faced a ONE Championship MMA world champion and submitted him under a more restricted ruleset. His reign as the promotion’s flyweight submission grappling world champion has been virtually flawless, despite any adversities he has encountered. His most recent achievement was submitting the Japanese MMA legend, Shinya Aoki, using an Aoki Lock. Surprisingly, he revealed that he was battling illness during the lead-up to the match.
During a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Musumeci explained his decision to go ahead with the fight despite his sickness, saying, “I’m a firm believer that one plus one equals two. Jiu-jitsu is a puzzle. It’s a math problem, and I was capable of solving it. I worked diligently on my jiu-jitsu during my training camp. The work I put in during the month before falling ill is what led to my victory. That’s why I was able to win.”
While Musumeci fulfilled his commitments and excelled on the mat, he also emphasized the importance of taking some time for himself, stating, “I need a few months without competing to let my body recover… And no more streetcar watermelon. Forget that.”
The conversation then shifted to the potential of his MMA debut, and Musumeci disclosed that he has a tentative date in mind for 2024, stating, “Maybe at the end of 2024. I want to gradually learn and continue to progress. Once I reach a high-level blue belt, I’ll be ready. I need more preparation to understand when I’m in danger.”
This commitment to transition is not new, as Musumeci has actively sought out top-notch Muay Thai instruction. Recognizing that he is a professional fighter regardless of the ruleset, he remains realistic about any gaps he needs to bridge, saying, “In stand-up, I’d put myself in positions where I could get knocked out, and I wouldn’t know. I need more time to study and progress.”
While the exact opponent for Mikey Musumeci’s MMA debut remains uncertain, his track record in combat sports suggests he will select a formidable opponent and rise to the challenge once the cage door closes.