After First UFC Win, Israel’s Noad Lahat Returning Home to Fight for His Country

By C.J. Tuttle Jul 26, 2014

Noad Lahat impressed in his featherweight bout against Steven Siler on Saturday at UFC on Fox 12, taking home a unanimous decision victory.

He will be taking the win home -- literally.

On Sunday, Lahat will be flying home to rejoin the Israeli army in its ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, who are continuing to fight over the sacred land of Gaza.

During his post-fight interview with UFC color commentator Joe Rogan, “Neo” spoke about what the future holds for him, and what drove him to the upset win.

“I wasn’t surprised that I won the fight. I knew I had probably taken the first two rounds, and when he got me in the figure four there in the third, I just had to wait for my opportunity to get out of it,” Lahat said. “This last two months has been an absolute hell, worrying about all my friends and family. I just knew I had to go back and help my country. I wasn’t going to say anything about the conflict, but while I was warming up [American Kickboxing Academy coach] Bob [Cook] showed me updates on Fox News that shelling had started again in Israel. I wanted to show my flag and use my victory to give my family strength in this dark time.”

The win will undoubtedly give a region something to cheer about in a dark time. While Lahat is well aware of what awaits him, it doesn’t necessarily mean he is anxious to leave fighting in the Octagon for fighting in the Middle East.

“I’m having fun here. This is fun; this is a job,” Lahat said. “But I’ll have nowhere to go back home if I don’t go there. If me and my friends, my brothers-in-arms, won’t go to defend my country, we’ll have nowhere to go. It’s something I really don’t want to do -- I want to stay here and have fun and enjoy the rest of the week after two really tough months. But man, I’m going to have to go, otherwise I’m not going to have a home. My mom and my dad have 15 seconds to run to get shelter when missiles are falling on them, and I’m here in sunny California. I love California, but I need to go and defend my home.”

While any sort of stance on a political, religious or controversial topic is often best left for outside the cage, Lahat summed things up best with his take on where blood should be shed.

“As a combat soldier, there’s nothing I want more in the world than peace,” Lahat said. “I don’t want to see my younger brother go in the army. I don’t want to see me and my other brother going back home on Sunday. I don’t want to see that. I don’t want to see more killing and more blood. The only blood [should be] in the Octagon.”


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