Champion’s Creed Builds Top MMA Fighter Talent

March 09, 2018

Champion’s Creed Martial Arts is making headlines again as one of their top athletes—mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, Hakeem Dawodu—signed a four-fight contract with the UFC on November 26, 2017. Since opening in 2000, the Calgary-based gym has turned out a slew of talented athletes from UFC fighter Nick Ring and Muay Thai Canada Nationals champion Meaghan Cameron, to Chad “The Monster” Anheliger—who recently won against bantamweight Eric Wilson in the MFC.

Anheliger won the fight against Wilson in a dominant unanimous decision, making it 5 wins in a row!! All the respect to his opponent who never quit and was dangerous to the end. This year, Anheliger also beat the number five MMA flyweight in Canada.

The gym’s founders, Brian and Sheila Bird, operate the 5000-square-foot facility and coach professional MMA fighters and members of all ages who want to train non-competitively for fitness, sport, and self-defense. The world-class club is the only training facility in Calgary that offers unlimited access to learning all four main styles of MMA: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling, Muay Thai, and kickboxing.

“Champion’s creed is like a family, a place where they celebrate your wins,” Cameron said, referring to the announcements the gym makes when an athlete has won a fight or signed a big contract deal.

Flyweight fighter Anheliger grew up in a small town where they didn’t have martial arts. He moved to Calgary when he was 19 years old and nine years later discovered Champion’s Creed, switching from his old gym after a series of losses. Since having Brian as his coach, he is winning big; Anheliger’s fight win was the main event of Wreck MMA, where he beat Quebec’s local favorite, Randy Turner, in under two minutes.

Most athletes in the MMA community hear about Champion’s Creed as “the place to train” in Calgary. The zebra mats, boxing ring, and an event series Octagon cage are just the start. The gym boasts coaches who are former Olympians and world champions, including Sheila Bird, who is a four-time gold medalist in MMA.

Brian Bird is the only trainer in Calgary to have ever brought MMA fighters to the UFC. Middleweight UFC champion Ring, who was coached by Brian and fought in his first UFC fight in 2011, spotted Dawodu at a fighting event and brought him to Champion’s Creed. Dawodu, classified in the featherweight division, was just about to become a professional MMA fighter.

“At Champion’s, they saw potential in me at the start, but I had to prove myself,” Dawodu said. “They were trying to keep me humble.”

Dawodu, nicknamed “Mean Hakeem,” attributes his success to his coaches as well as his internal strength and motivation to win. “The person that really pushes me is myself, but I give huge credit to my trainers that have always supported me,” Dawodu noted.

Champion’s Creed Martial Arts gym can be found in the southwest quadrant of Calgary. Co-founder Brian Bird has instructed and practiced martial arts since 1995 and has coached world champion competitors in the FILA grappling championships. His partner, Sheila Bird, was the first Canadian woman to earn a Black Belt in Canada and earned the FILA Grappling World Championship in 2008, 2009, and 2010. 

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