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Angad Bisht: Forging a Legacy in the mountains of Uttarakhand

Renjith Ravindran
27 June 2020

It was three in the morning and the glorious India gate was right in front of Angad Bisht. He couldn’t sleep that day. Fresh off his win in the Super Fight League, he felt that he had won the world. It was a moment of realization for him, the realization that fighting was important.

Growing up 

Born in the 90s in Rudraprayag in Uttarakhand, Angad grew up in his village without being polluted by the world of Social media. He used to climb up the hills, run around and used to take dips in the river and run back home in the evening.

From a young age itself, he spent a lot of time away from his home. It was a tight schedule at his school, but at the same time, this proved to be something beneficial for him.  

Angad Bisht: It was a proud feeling that I was looking after myself from such a young age. I used to wash my own clothes, used to wake up at 5 in the morning since we had PT from 5 to 6. Classes used to start after 7. And after classes were over, we used to study for some time and then engaged in games. It was a busy schedule. It was good that I didn’t spend this time at my home because if I was at home, I would’ve spent a lot of time on TV. So that period helped me a lot to be independent.

After completing his 12th, Angad was supposed to take up MBBS and be a doctor. However, by this time, he had already fallen in love with combat sports. Becoming a fighter was not something that he planned on, but he wanted to learn as much as he could. This quench for knowledge soon landed him in Delhi.

Angad Bisht: I started with boxing and jiu-jitsu and I had realized that basic was important for any game. I cannot learn everything, it’s just that I have to learn certain things and be strong at it. So I started with boxing and jiu-jitsu. And my confidence level was so high since I already had that fighter spirit. Then it kind of turned into a battle against the society as well. I was from a small village and people used to tell a lot of things.

The first step in Super Fight League and Fighting with Jaundice

With confidence and newly acquired skills on his side, Angad made a leap into the world of amateur MMA and piled up wins. SFL trials proved to be the next step for him.

Angad Bisht: In my first SFL trial, I only had one fight and I won it. I didn’t have a lot of skills but my ground game and boxing was good. There were a lot of struggles going on in my life during that time. I did not have any money, I was struggling and the guy was good as well. He was a pro-boxer and at one point, I even thought of giving up and going back home. But then I realized that I had come this far and that I cannot give up now. I won the fight.

This good performance in the trials landed him an amateur opportunity in the Super Fight League. It was a big opportunity for the young boy from Uttarakhand and he had no intentions of giving it up even though he started having issues with his body just hours before the fight.

He decided to fight through the pain and ended up getting the win. It was only later that he realized that he had jaundice that day.

The second run in the Super Fight League

A year later, Angad once again gave the SFL trials. He spent an entire year working on his skills and it was there to be seen as well. It was at this trial that he managed to pull off one of the rarest submission moves, the twister.

Angad Bisht: I had understood that it was a big platform and that if I did not do anything new, no one would know me. I recall that I had two options, either I could have gone for an RNC from the back or I could have gone for the twister. So I left the RNC and went for the twister since I wanted to do something different and make a name for myself. When I pulled off the twister, not many knew what was going on, But Alan [Fenandes] sir was there and he clapped since he knew what was happening. So it was an amazing moment for me.

Angad earned himself a pro-contract thanks to this impressive outing and within no time, he was under the Super Fight League spotlight. This time also, things turned a bit rocky.

He suffered a muscle tear in his first pro fight which restricted him from utilizing his boxing skills. Despite this, Angad won the fight. After this win, he went out to the Delhi streets that night.

Angad Bisht: I woke up at 3 in the morning as I couldn’t sleep due to the pain. I went and sat in front of the India Gate and had the feeling that I had won the world. And this was very important for me

Angad won all these fights in the SFL that season and had a record of 3-0 by the time he finished it up.

The rivalry Dhruv Chaudhary

Angad had his first taste of defeat in 2018 when he was submitted by Dhruv Chaudhary at an event organized by AIMMAA. Although he bounced backed strongly with a win against Kushal Vyas at BRAVE CF 20, Angad pushed for a rematch with Dhruv and finally got his opportunity at Matrix Fight Night 2 in 2019.

A new version of Angad greeted Dhruv in the cage this time and it resulted in a decision victory for Angad, levelling the rivalry to 1-1.

Angad Bisht: I was not strong with my wrestling and there were a lot of holes in my fighting games. I was also a bit cocky at that time as well. For the rematch, I joined Gracie Berra in Bangalore and I improved a lot under him. This was the first time in my life that I had a fight camp for my fight. The camp was 18 days long and I understood a lot of realities from that camp and that I had a lot to learn. All the credit for my win goes to him as he changed my perception towards the sport as a whole. I also had to prove myself which I did.

Mutant MMA Academy in Dehradun and the Legacy he wants to create

With his MMA career picking up on one side, Angad started the Mutant MMA Academy in Dehradun.

Angad Bisht: In the beginning, I just wanted a place where I could train the whole day. All the gyms out there were like we can only train for four to five hours. I just wanted a place where there were low pollution and good people. And another reason was that I wanted to make my own legacy. Like in Russia, we have Dagestan. Just like that, I wanted to make Uttarakhand a hub of MMA in India. And fighters in Uttarakhand have so much potential as well.

Along with imparting the knowledge that he has about combat sports to the next generation, Angad also stresses that having the right mindset is what matters the most.

Angad Bisht: If you are humble, you can learn a lot. If you have an ego inside you, you cannot become a good fighter. Just be humble all the time. Don’t have an ego. I behave as a friend to all the kids that come to my academy. Some kids even come saying that they don’t have money, so what I say is Train hard and prove your worth, and then you don’t have to pay. We hang out, we go for a swim. We are training and we are having fun, this is an important part of my life, be humble and be supportive.

Putting on a show for the fans

Over the past decade, the outlook that Angad has about fighting and life has changed drastically. Initially, he had his drive from being unbeaten and now, it is something entirely different.

Angad Bisht: When I was undefeated, the drive came from being undefeated. But when I lost for the first time, then it was like ‘I should not suffer defeat again’ but now, it’s like I need to perform even if I win or loss. I want to give such a performance that Indian MMA has not seen till now. A fight where I’m bleeding, a lot of violence, a lot of roller coaster ride so that people get motivated by seeing such a performance.

And he dreams of fighting foreign opponents soon.

Angad Bisht: I always wanted to fight outside and foreign opponents. Russian guys maybe, an American or an African, because it’s just that the strongest one will survive. But before I can go there, I need to get wins over the Indian fighters here. First, I need to prove myself first that I deserve foreign opponents. So first, I need to defeat the good fighters in India and if I get wins over them, then I can say that I can represent India internationally. And if I cannot do that, maybe I don’t have that much potential in me, simple as that.

Things are as simple as that with Angad. A humble fighter that is forging his own legacy in the Indian MMA scene.


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