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10 questions for… Mat Dryden

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Cobra Fitness started out in a small rented studio linked to a hotel, offering pure Muay Thai and kickboxing training for the hardened. Today, it’s a two-floor establishment in trendy Al Bandar that runs incredibly busy classes and workshops for kids and adults in everything from martial arts to yoga and even pole dancing fitness.

Cobra has somehow managed to breed a string of successful white-collar fighters in the UAE, as well as become much loved for forging a lively community around health and fitness for the whole family. We asked the Aussie behind the success story, Mat Dryden, some fun questions about his blessed and busy life in Abu Dhabi.

1. How long have you been in Abu Dhabi… and how would you sum up your time here?
Seven years in Abu Dhabi and loving it. I consider this my home.2. What’s your favourite restaurant… and favourite dish?
The Mongolian Chinese Restaurant opposite Beach Rotana is a classic, and my favourite dish there is the chicken with cashew nuts and rice3. Which takeaway do you have on speed dial?
Russo’s New York Pizzeria

4. Thursday night means…
Acro Yoga in the gym after work.

5. Friday afternoon means…
Pizza in bed watching The Kardashians.

6. Guests have flown in to see you for a weekend and they’ve never been here before. What three things do you do?
It’s got to be the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a visit to Cobra Fitness, of course, and definitely a fun day out at Yas Waterworld.

7. Where do you go to get a taste of home?
Unfortunately, I’ve yet to find somewhere…

8. What one thing could they introduce to Abu Dhabi that would immeasurably improve the quality of your life?
See above: A proper Aussie pub or restaurant.

9. If you had to spend AED100,000 in a single Abu Dhabi shop, which would you choose and what would you buy?
I’m really into my motorcycles so I’d have to say I’d spend it on a new custom chopper courtesy the guys at Strokerz ME.

10. What do you do in Abu Dhabi or the UAE that you never do anywhere else in the world?
Leave my keys in the ignition and leave the motor running while I run into the shop. It’s a pretty safe place to live.

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