Ilir Latifi And His Kosovan Roots

By: Valon Xoxa    October 5, 2014

Ilir Latifi is climbing up the ladder of success in the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). At his recent appearance for UFC Sweden and, Ilir tells some of his secrets to success.

The story begins with his family, particularly with his parents migrating from Kosovo to Sweden. Like every migrant father, Ilir’s dad held two jobs of great physical demand.Coming from a big family, with eighteen other siblings, his father learned to fend for himself early on. This in turn brought Ilir his first hero, his father. Ilir however attributes his strength to something deeper: “My ancestors (form Kosovo)  were farmers. They were hard-working, agricultural people. I think that’s where my strength comes from.”


Ilir remembers his early upbringing as full of challenge and hardships, especially with the location of his house and the bad neighborhood. For Ilir Latifi, the MMA and gym practice are a lot more than building muscle and fighting. The discipline and honor taught through MMA saved his future and are the meaning of life itself. Ilir plans to open up two gyms, one in Sweden and one in Kosovo, with the aims of helping the struggling youth and promoting a self taught disciplined life. “I see MMA gyms the same way I see schools. It’s a place for people to find belief in themselves and to find their potential.”

Valon Xoxa

Valon Xoxa is a staff member of He holds a bachelor degree from Westminster College (MO) in Cultural Anthropology and Sociology. Currently resides in Prishtina, and is a freelance contributor and editor at With an interest in contemporary culture, he seeks to find and incorporate articles from the Kosovar Diaspora that would shed light upon the interesting characteristics of this important global community. He has published a research article through UNDP’s School on Human Development titled “Mobility and Public Participation: A Case Study of the Kosovar Diaspora”, where a rather interesting Andersonian perspective is taken at understanding the Internet as a national identity creation medium.

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