If you’ve watched the hit television show 90 Day Fiancé, then you know of Biniyam Shibre. For MMA fans who may not have the show on their regular rotation, the reality TV star is attacking his goals of being a UFC fighter, not only so he can be perceived as one of the best competitors in the world, but also to be able to give back to his roots.
Shibre is set to compete in his third amateur bout this Friday night against Anthony Sipe at 559 Fights 91, which takes place in Visalia, Calif. The 32-year-old finished his first two opponents in the amateur ranks, including a 12-second submission victory in his most recent bout for New York regional promotion Flex Fights in August 2021.
Shibre is currently training in Las Vegas ahead of his next bout, and with his skill set growing rapidly, he’s hoping to parlay everything into a roster spot in the biggest fight organization in the world in order to help grow the sport in his home country of Ethiopia.
“My goal is I want to be a UFC fighter,” Shibre told MMA Fighting. “MMA is growing in Africa but not all over, especially in Ethiopia. There’s [been] zero.
“I go [back] there to help grow MMA [in Ethiopia]. Now they’re starting jiu-jitsu, but slowly, so I want to go back to give something to the next generation in my country. I want to [help] build it. I want to go back and do it as a UFC fighter. That’s my dream.”
With his notoriety on reality television, Shibre might be one of the most recognizable amateur MMA fighters in the world, and he understands that as his career progresses, fans of the sport may not know him by name, but as the “90 Day Fiancé guy.”
Some fighters might grow tired of that moniker, but for Shibre, fans of the TLC program have provided him with plenty of support and encouragement, and he is fine having the worlds intertwine in his pursuit of his dreams.
“For me, I want to be happy, whether you know me as a fighter [or from the show],” Shibre said. “The 90 Day Fiancé fans, they support me. They send me so many messages telling me, ‘Follow your dreams,’ they know it’s my passion.
“I want people to know me and my goal, especially in my country. When I got back to my country, I want to bring my generation, and give that to the next generation. That’s why people know that I want to be famous, be a UFC fighter, be a big fighter in the sport.”
Since heading to Las Vegas, Shibre has been training at Syndicate MMA under head coach John Wood. Coming from a background in martial arts, dance, and gymnastics, Shibre’s coaches are well aware of his athleticism and his work ethic.
As he prepares to fight Sipe, who doesn’t quite have the same prowess as Shibre in the striking department, the message from his coaches has been to learn and become wiser which each training session and fight as Shibre leans towards turning professional.
“They tell me, ‘You need experience,’” Shibre explained. “Maybe I want to do two more amateur fights after this, then go full pro.
“But I watched [Sipe’s fights], he’s more of a grappling and jiu-jitsu guy. I want to be ready. How can I defend that and protect myself? That’s what I’ve been practicing with my coach.”
Despite not having the same experience in the grappling department as his opponent, Shibre sees some glaring holes in Sipe’s game that could have him picking up a submission victory on Friday.
“I think I will choke him,” Shibre said. “My last fight, I got the choke. He tried grappling and I choked him. When he attacks me, there’s going to be openings, so maybe I can choke him. That’s what I feel.”