By Caoilte de Barra
Kasib Murdoch is the latest breakout star from the New Zealand team. The senior featherweight entry has been thriving at the 2022 IMMAF World Championships, winning four bouts in as many days in impressive fashion.
Before his MMA career, Murdoch began in wrestling before enjoying some success in amateur boxing, winning national titles and even representing New Zealand internationally at the youth Olympics. However, after falling out of love with the sport, he transitioned to MMA and is loving the journey.
“I originally started in wrestling. And for MMA, I watched UFC on TV, and that was kind of what got me set. I think George St. Pierre and BJ Penn might have been the first fight I’ve seen. But I always wanted to fight when I was growing up, and I was too young to fight in MMA. That was why I headed towards boxing. Just so I could get fights. I had about 43 amateur boxing matches and represented New Zealand.
“[The World Championships experience so far] has been pretty awesome. I’ve been trying to keep myself grounded and try to take in as many moments as I can. I remember when I went to the Olympics, I was just so focused, and it all went very fast, and afterwards, I didn’t have much to remember, like to enjoy the moments. So this time I’ve just been trying when I can ’cause I’m focused and enjoy each moment as they come.”
Murdoch had his first international MMA bout at the MMA SuperCup and went on to win the 2022 South Pacific Championships in his first time competing on consecutive days. Despite being nervous before his first outing in an international tournament, Murdoch’s confidence has grown, and he is ready to win gold.
“I think as the tournament has gone on, I’ve gotten a bit more confident in myself, and I feel I’ve been performing better each fight. I’ve had a clearer head and am a bit more relaxed in there, and have my ears open. And yeah, I think I’m just gonna run away with this tournament.”
The belief of winning a World title is something that came from watching his national teammate, Fergus Jenkins, last year.
“I got to watch him, and he just made it possible. He put the blueprint out for most New Zealanders. He made our whole team think that it’s actually doable. I thank him for that, and it’s very unlucky how he went out of this tournament. He’s still a champion in my eyes, and I think he’ll be back to get his world title.”
Before Murdoch enters Cage 1 for the gold medal match-up, a Haka will be performed. A special moment he is excited to experience.
“Yeah, I’ve never had a Haka done for me before. I feel like it’s going to give me a rush, make me feel full of emotion and feel like I’ve got my whole team behind me, which I feel like anyway. They’re all amazing. They’re all helping me after each fight, in between each fight, whatever I need. Our team camaraderie is awesome.”