The Illinois native has battled adversity and is looking to overcome all come April 8th.
In two weeks at WrestleMania 34, the two men who stood atop of the WWE Cruiserweight Championship tournament, Mustafa Ali & Cedric Alexander will do battle over the title. Before the bout come April 8th, Mustafa Ali spoke with WWE.com to take fans on a trip down memory lane on his road to WrestleMania.
“To me, it's a huge opportunity for representation,” Ali said. “There are preconceived ideas and these barriers that have come along with a name like mine. [I’d be] typically portrayed as the ‘bad guy. I have a chance to knock all that down and show young guys and girls who look like me and have a name like mine, here’s a guy like you that chased his dreams and wasn't worried about labels.”
When the WWE Cruiserweight Classic tournament was beginning to take form, Ali's name was being considered for the field of competitors. The list of names would finally be released and Ali's name was not on it but he was determined to make sure that the company regretted that.
"I didn’t know what happened, if I had done something, or they had forgotten about me,” Ali said. “I frantically contacted William Regal to find out what happened."
Not soon after the disappointing news, an opportunity would arise for the 205 Live star as a competitor who was scheduled to face Lince Dorado in the first round had to pull out from the tourney and left a spot for the taking for the Illinois native.
"It was then I found out I was an alternate. I remember being so devastated. I remember being like 'obviously, this is an opportunity for me," he explained. "But it was also an opportunity for me to prove that they made the wrong decision the first time. They should have had me on the original list, and I was going to prove them wrong.”
Mustafa Ali and his WrestleMania opponent Cedric Alexander may have had similar paths in WWE to get to this point, but Ali made the differences clear between the two men.
“The biggest difference between Cedric and I isn't our style, isn't our background; it's simply our mindset,” Ali explained. “Cedric believes he deserves to be at WrestleMania. He believes he deserves to be the Cruiserweight Champion. Cedric has the mindset that this already should have happened for him. I'm different, I'm the underdog, Cinderella story. I realize I've gotten here by a thread. I'm fighting for so much more than a championship, victories and celebrity status. I'm fighting for a purpose, fighting for those who can't. I'm fighting for the right for others to dream without any limitation, without any worries. Cedric and I are worlds apart. We are very close friends, we have very similar styles in the ring, but Cedric is one man, while I'm fighting for millions.”
The article took a deeper look into the journey of Mustafa Ali. Ali would go over his daughter being such an influential reason as to why he goes as hard as he does, and tons more. To read his full interview with WWE.com, click here.